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Taking Care of Business (TCB) Remake Success Story – A Mother’s journey from loss to legacy

Everything I owned was gone
A few years ago, my life was hectic. I had just escaped a violent domestic abuse marriage. My house burnt down and I had to move in with my mother. Everything I owned was gone. My child was only one then and all I had was a bed. I felt like my life was over. I had worked so hard for so many years, building myself up and I lost it all in one night.

 Being over 35 made it hard to find a job. I did odd jobs but my dream was to become a fashion designer, so I started learning how to sew. Then, I heard about TCB’s open day, and I attended. I knew immediately that this was what I wanted.

 Head, hands and heart: Holistic healing for solid growth
When I started at TCB I knew I had an opportunity to change my life but, in my mind I still felt stuck, I had a lot of baggage from my past that was holding me back. I was scared to speak to anyone about it, I used to hide it behind a smile. But going through the TCB programme, we got counselling, coaching, occupational intelligence training and I was finally given the chance to speak. It helped me grow and become confident. I became a brand new me.

 Coming to TCB and meeting women that are going through the same thing, I felt like I wasn’t alone. I was part of a sisterhood where everyone helped each other to grow.

 TCB helped me heal. There’s a big difference in my life now. I have a brighter future. Back then I couldn’t afford to let my child go on school excursions, which hurt me a lot. In the mentoring we are taught how to save and budget. Now my children know I always have money saved up for them. I have been given financial freedom.

 The business and financial skills and record keeping that I learnt at TCB helped me get the funding and donations to buy industrial sewing machines to start my business. My business is now registered, and I was able to start my brand, Eladowear as well as a Cut Make Trim (CMT) with two of my TCB colleagues.

 Paying it forward
I want to leave my Eladowear brand as a legacy for my kids and community. I started Eladowear because when I came out of my marriage, we couldn’t afford nice clothes and my kids had to watch other kids wear nice clothes. I started noticing other single mothers in my community going through the same thing. I wanted to create a brand that gives single mothers the chance to afford quality clothes.

 To the women who have gone or are going through a domestic violence relationship I want to say, “Think about yourself and your kids, don’t think because you don’t have money that you can’t move forward. Your happiness and health are very important.

There are many places that can help you. My CMT, Kamvelihle, is open to help you too. Part of our vision is to pay forward what we were given by TCB and help as many women as we can. Women can come to us to learn how to sew and they can start making clothes to sell.”

 My partners, Nomawabo Chinche and Abigail Masholoko, and I started Kamvelihle CMT Projects in November 2022, after graduating from the Remake programme. We wanted to make a difference. There are a lot of women out there who cannot sew but they want to start their own businesses. For example, if they want to sell pencil cases, then we sew it for them and they sell it as part of their own businesses. We have quite a few big clients now. We love the concept that we are helping other people.

 My dream for my future
My businesses make me feel like I have achieved something. We are still at the early stages and there is a lot that we still need but I am excited about where it’s going.

 My dream for the future is to see both my businesses grow, I want to make an impact by helping other women. I advise other people who want to start their own business to believe in themselves.


Watch Bongiwe tell her inspiring story:

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