Mthoko from Zikulise

Once unemployed, Mthokozisi Mthembu is living his dream, thanks to a sponsored sewing skills course at the Zikulise Community Upliftment project.

 Mthokozisi Mthembu’s dream and greatest wish was to be a fashion designer, but he couldn't even sew. Thanks to MySchool funds, Mthoko (as he’s known by friends) is just one of many unemployed people who are realising their dreams of a better life through sponsored skills training courses. 

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When Mthoko heard about the Zikulise Community Upliftment Project, he wasted no time in applying to join a sewing course in 2013. While on the course he discovered that sewing and dressmaking was in his blood, just as he knew it would be.  With a natural talent, and the only male in the class, he even showed the ladies a thing or two. 

After successfully completing the course, Mthoko was snapped up by a local manufacturing company and was employed at the business for two years. With a dream of starting his own business, he saved his money to buy two sewing machines, found premises in Empangeni and in November 2015 he was open for business. 

Since then he’s bought more sewing machines and an embroidery machine, and is happy to take on any project.  As well as sewing he also adds beadwork, embroidery and even makes matching earrings and bracelets for his customers. 

Mthoko’s success has meant that he’s able to help his parents and other struggling families. Passionate about sewing, and oozing enthusiasm, Mthoko wants to help others in his community who are as passionate about sewing as he is. Having trained six people so far, he’s proud that two of his students are formally employed. 

“Without the opportunity Zikulise afforded me I wouldn't be where I am today. I have achieved so much in the past three years and I know I will continue on this path of success. Who knows maybe one day I will be designing outfits for movie stars!” he said.

 Zikulise sponsored training is offered at no cost to the unemployed applicants, except for a small commitment fee. As well as sewing training Zikulise offers baking, pottery making, traditional bead weaving and hair braiding with all the courses having a business skills component. 

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Mthoko's said, “My advice is, if you have passion, determination and always pursue your dream, you can make it happen. Look at me, I have.”