Egolisquash Partners with the Laureus Foundation to Bring Entrepreneurial Program to South African Young Women

The Sew Egoli project provides students with weekly instruction in textile industry skills including the use of manual and industrial sewing machines.

Egolisquash, one of SEA’s four international affiliates, has launched an entrepreneurial training initiative for female students, graduates and their mothers in the inner-city Johannesburg, Soweto and Alexandra communities that they serve. With support from the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, the Sew Egoli program equips over 100 participants with basic sewing, pattern making, dressmaking and design skills in a year-long training program. The women in the Sew Egoli program manufacture clothing and sporting apparel that are sold to the wider community and have already benefited from sustainable employment options stemming from their new skills. Sew Egoli is one of the many enrichment offerings of Egolisquash, an international affiliate that joined the SEA network in 2014 and is led by Executive Director Glenn Lazarus.

Some student projects have included school uniforms sold to the local Soweto community.

Sew Egoli is spearheaded by coach, coordinator, and Chief of Operations, Sharon Sibanda, who established the program to provide their girls, young women, and families with opportunities for self-employment, financial independence, and leadership development that transform the way they view themselves. “It’s not about charity,” notes Sibanda. “It’s about helping to empower women to help themselves. By providing resources and tools, we can level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, and help them to establish businesses that will benefit their families, their communities and their nation.”

Sew Egoli originated with Sibanda’s observation of the lack of resources available to students and families in the neighborhoods they serve. “There is an urgent need to empower young people, especially in the Johannesburg Inner-city, Soweto and Alexandra communities where the family unit is being broken down, households are struggling with high unemployment rates, and youth are exposed to environments with crime and violence nearly every day of their lives,” reflected Sibanda. “Such realities are a central part of the rationale to continue expanding our Egolisquash support and establishing our Sew Egoli program through funding from Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.”

The work of Sew Egoli is in alignment with the mission of Laureus Sport for Good which was inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela. For over ten years, the foundation has helped young people overcome the limitations imposed by challenging social issues including poverty, homelessness, war, violence, drug abuse, discrimination and AIDS through its support of sports-related community projects.