Nomcebo Dlamini – Swaziland

Date: October 12, 2015
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11036_nomcebo_dlamini.png“Even with a disability, I just want to show the world that despite my size and my limitations, I can make something of myself using my hands. Sewing is something that I like and making a living out of it is my dream.”

Nomcebo Dlamini describes herself as a business woman who dresses plus-sized women for a living and has recently ventured into making household embroidered items. In 2014 Dlamini had the opportunity to present her business plan at the Swaziland Gender Protocol Summit and later at the Regional Summit in April and May 2014. When she joined Gender Links entrepreneurship programme in 2013, Dlamini had started the plus-size clothing tailoring and she has since partnered with other women in working on household embroidered items, table clothes, place mats and the like.

The training she received from Gender Links (GL) was on how to develop business plans and how to manage the business. It moved from doing the work for fun to now having a vision and making a profit. With the training from GL she works and sells and makes an income from the business. At the time of the interview, Dlamini was showcasing her products at the Swaziland International Fair through the Ministry of Commerce and Trade. The Ministry gave them free stands at the pavilion to showcase with other disabled business women. The trade fair was positive, there were many customers that came through and showed interest in the products, and Dlamini can now see a way forward.

“Personal empowerment and the ability to be self reliant and financially independent have provided me with business satisfaction. It has done wonders in boosting my self esteem and confidence. I am able to generate income that supports my family and also make a difference in other people’s lives as I pay them for services rendered.”

The training was helpful in assisting me to look outside the conventional and move towards extending the business into a more lucrative enterprise. The experience at the international summit in Johannesburg in 2014 was really a great eye opener. The councils have also provided transport and other NGOs such as Microfinance have sponsored her business and the women in the team with whom she works.

There are challenges. As a disabled person there is not much option but to be dependent on people for transport and finance here and there that can boost the growth of the business. Currently working with the disabled ladies, the centre has provided a place to work with women as a cooperative and living out the 2022 King’s vision. Everyone should live a good life without any difficulties. During the opening of the international trade fair there was the opportunity to meet the King and speak to him face to face. The excitement involved the King’s recognition of the disabled, not as a burden, but as contributors to the Swati economy. It was really encouraging to get that recognition.

We managed to also speak to Dlamini’s friend Brenda, who makes cleaning detergents. She is a blind woman. Brenda and Dlamini have begun working together due to the linkages made by the council and the NGO that started to provide microfinance for disabled business women. The network of women works together and meets every Wednesday and they exchange skills and experiences.

Dlamini is thankful for the follow up assessment as it has provided her with an opportunity to look back introspectively at what has worked and what can still be improved. It was really encouraging during the international trade fair to also take the time out and attend the Gender Links follow up assessment, to meet other women and see their achievements and also the challenges that have been faced along the way.

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