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How a group of widows found a way to earn a living

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How a group of widows found a way to earn a living

By Nompendulo Ngubane for GroundUp

Each morning, a group of about 20 females gather on the Msunduzi River bank in Ehhashini location, exterior Pietermaritzburg. Here they make bricks from mud and grass to earn a living. They started their mission way back in 2006.

Early Newspaper

“We learn from each other,” says Ziningi Phetha, who joined the group after her husband died.

“Our families rely on us. We have managed to pay college expenses for our grandchildren with the money we gather from promoting these bricks,” she says.

“We train our hands and feet to combine the mud,” she explains. “We dig the soil to make the aggregate … combine it with grass to tighten the bricks. The grass makes the bricks stronger. Every part we want is here.”

‘WAKE UP AND DO IT YOURSELF’

Mavis Hlongwa, who’s 62, said the group is aware of their work and they gather orders for bricks from the local residents.

“Local residents have been of great back. We call our mission Vuka Uzenzele (“Wake up and accomplish it your self”). All of us have no husbands. We are not searching on anyone nonetheless on this mud. I’m able to pay college expenses for my grandchildren. There’s not a day I budge to bed with out having meals to eat. My family is taken care of. Some of us are taking care of our grandchildren who are orphans. This mud and grass is our survival,” says Hlongwa.

Doris Mkhize, who’s 60, says she built her dwelling the train of the bricks she made with her absorb hands. Mkhize said many residents earn with mud bricks.

“Nobody taught us brick laying. Seeing how cement bricks were made, we tried the same approach the train of mud. The measuring boxes we train are made of wood. We made the boxes ourselves,” says Mkhize.

Mkhize said rain is a challenge, as the bricks need to dry in the solar.

“Typically our tools are stolen. We are appealing for abet from anyone who may assist us with extra tools. We want a safe shelter the place we can maintain the bricks and tools safe,” says Mkhize.

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How a group of widows found a way to earn a living