A programme designed to help pupils become budding entrepreneurs has had such an impact on New Brighton’s Charles Duna Primary School, that it has led to a school-based jewellery-making business.
Twenty-five Grade 2 to 6 pupils have been hard at work making beaded bracelets, necklaces and other products through their new business venture, called Kingdom Kids. They will be selling their wares at the “Locally Yours” handmade market at Port Elizabeth’s Tramways Building on May 27.
The Kingdom Kids children form part of an 80-plus group of pupils at the school, who are participating in the community outreach arm of the national Young Entrepreneurs (YE) programme, which teaches youngsters how to run their own small businesses and manage money.
With 80 per cent of parents at the school unemployed, the YE programme is giving children the tools to create their own jobs, to break the cycle of poverty many families face.
“We are teaching our pupils not to wait for employment but to create their own employment. We are planting a seed, that even while they are at school, they can create your own businesses,” said Charles Duna principal Nombulelo Sume.
The school bought the beads for Kingdom Kids, and YE facilitator Nomawethu Zenzile – with the assistance of YE business owner Ansulene Prinsloo – is supervising and guiding their efforts.
Zenzile, who came up with the Kingdom Kids concept, said she hoped the children would grow into fully-fledged entrepreneurs, and share their skills with others. “My hope is that they teach other kids – that they become teachers as well as entrepreneurs – and make an impact on their community.”
The 30-week YE programme runs at Charles Duna for an hour a week – and Kingdom Kids is an extension of that, running for an additional hour a week. “The 25 children participating have all learnt about running a business from the YE programme. Kingdom Kids takes it to the next level.”
Locally Yours coordinator Annelize Botha said: “The Kingdom Kids children will be our guests of honour at our May event. We are thrilled that the heart of our market will be entrepreneurs who are all under the age of 13!
“My feeling is that the Kingdom Kids programme is not about learning a skill but rather about creating a habit for life … Quite a few of our members have also volunteered to mentor these children in terms of learning new crafting and cooking skills, so I think this is just the beginning of a very exciting adventure.”
Prinsloo, who last year brought the YE programme to Nelson Mandela Bay and several other Eastern Cape towns, said: “Our vision is that Kingdom Kids will become a self-sustainable business. With the money the kids make from the market in May, they will be able to buy more raw materials, make more products and grow their business. In this process, they are not only learning vital skills and knowledge, but earning some income for themselves and their families.”
YE’s outreach initiative sees private sector sponsors working in partnership with the YE Foundation Trust, to ensure that less fortunate children can also benefit from the formal YE programme.
“With high unemployment rates accompanied by low economic growth rates, our children as the next generation need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Prinsloo. “By setting up their own businesses, they will not only generate income for themselves, but many more jobs will be created – contributing to the development of the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay and the country.”