Mbabane: A fairly new Non-Governmental-Organisation (NGO), KILOBU Eswatini, has come to the rescue of handicraft vendors at the Mbabane Market.
The organisation donated food hampers to five (5) vendors which were found sitting inside the empty stalls –groceries which consisted of 2 Kg bags of flour, 5 Kg bags of rice, 5 Kg bags of beans, 2 litre bottles of cooking oil, 2 Kg bags of powdered soap and salt.
Managing Director of the NGO, Jabu Tembe, said they purposely targeted the handicraft section which depends heavily on foreign tourists, and with the inhibition of international movements the handicraft vendors have struggled to make ends meet. Tembe said she should not be misunderstood to be saying the other vendors in the other sections are able to make it through but the handicraft section stalls are literally empty. “We were stunned to find no one inside the handicraft block other than the 5 vendors who sat with dejected faces,” said the MD. She added that they will continue to assist the vendors through an international funding campaign where they will lure international organisations to lend a helping hand. Tembe said they have also initiated a new way of raising funds called Crowd Funding, which encourages potential donors to liaise with the organisation with the focus of donating to small businesses like vendors.
Tembe said they have presented a platform for the vendors which will enable continued trading with the international community, called E-Commerce and offers the handicraft business an opportunity to load their products online. She said international customers will be able to access handicraft products online and make payments using the NGO’s secure payment platform. “The KILOBU services are available on the website and on the KILOBU App which is downloadable from Google Play and from App Store,” said the MD, adding that KILOBU Eswatini is a platform which assists in extending relief initiatives to those hard hit especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mbabane Market Handicraft section representative and community member, Ndvuna Msibi, heaped praises to the organisation saying it came at a time they were stumped for solutions. Last week, Msibi told Independent News that they had nothing to take home at the end of each day by virtue of depending on foreign visits and traditional ceremonies like Umhlanga and Incwala, whose staging, this year, hangs in the balance due to the incessant pandemic. He called for more organisations to follow suit and give to the needy, saying this is the time to apply that biblical principle which talks of ‘being a brother’s keeper’.
Mbabane Municipality Council against donations to vendors without their knowledge
The Mbabane Municipality Council’s Public Relations Office has called for donors to go via the Council before they can give anything to the vendors. The Council was unaware of KILOBU Eswatini donating anything to vendors at the market, said an inside source at the Council offices. The source said they do not own the vendors but the property where they market their products, and yet still, it would be right if as the Council they knew about everything happening inside the blocks so that they can also have a voice, adding that they have always encouraged donations to the vendors especially in the wake of the pandemic.