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TCB is breaking the chains of poverty and building a brighter future for South Africans

By Taking Care of Business

Next month, the world will be acknowledging the fight to eradicate poverty, on the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. A day countries devote to promoting activities that can eradicate poverty and destitution. Here at home, Taking Care of Business, TCB, a local non-profit social enterprise works to eradicate poverty in South African families every day by empowering ordinary people to escape the cycle of poverty using their tried-and-tested approach.

A recent statistic released by the Director of the Development Policy Research Unit at UCT, Professor Haroon Bhorat, tells the story of South Africa’s unemployment woes. On average, in developing countries, the formal sector reaches up to 45% employment, and 45% in the informal sector, leaving 10% of people unemployed. In South Africa, 50% of people are in formal employment, and only 16% in informal jobs, leaving 34% unemployed.

Since 2010, thousands of men and women have grabbed the opportunity TCB provides across three enterprise development programmes. In doing so, they have dramatically changed their lives, from unemployed and often destitute to becoming financially and socially independent. One such beneficiary is Bradley Freeman (43 years old) who battled addiction and homelessness to reinvent his life as a responsible and successful businessman.

Bradley says, “I slept in De Waal Park for about five years and roamed the streets of Cape Town.” He applied to TCB after a stint in rehab. “When you come out of rehab you don’t know what to do because you need cash to survive and a job, but who will employ you? Someone told me about TCB. Today I am five years and seven months clean and TCB has helped me become self-employed.”

Bradley joined TCB’s Repair programme where he was taught to repair appliances. The Repair programme also teaches beneficiaries how to source and repair larger appliances such as fridges and stoves, how to set their prices, how to get customers and other essential business skills. They learn valuable life skills, money skills and computer skills and benefit from coaching, mentorship and a support network of like-minded people. The programme is hard work, but after two years successful beneficiaries – like Bradley – receive a qualification and are already their own boss running a business that makes them a good income.

Bradley says, “The journey at TCB helped me to integrate myself back into society. They taught me many things, but the most important part was that they work with your inner emotions and why we do the things we do. For me, TCB was the highlight of my second rehab.

“I’m just glad that today I can walk with my head held up high and be an example for many others in my community also struggling with the same issues, to show them that it can be done. Everything that I know right now is from TCB. I am a successful businessman. Thank you for giving men and women like me a chance to be better citizens. I’m a product of this idea. I’m doing so well in my life right now that as a man I can actually support my family and be there for others,” he says.

This year Bradley graduated from the Informal Small Business Practice (ISBP) Programme, an accredited training programme offered in the second year of TCB’s Resell and Repair programmes.

As Bradley illustrates, poverty is more complex than having too little money. Poverty is multidimensional. It robs people of their dignity and freedom. Eradicating poverty allows people to be better human beings, it gives them the confidence to have good relationships and connections with their families and their communities. It brings meaning to their lives by allowing them to be role models for others and to live a life that they can be proud of.

Every year TCB puts about 1000 unemployed South Africans through their two-year training programmes where they are given the skills and resources to start and make a success of their own small businesses. TCB’s programmes are: Resell (selling clothes donated by retailers or individuals), Remake (repairing and repurposing fabric, offcuts and unsellable items and selling second-hand clothes) and Repair (repairing and selling small and large appliances).

You can help people like Bradley make a success of their lives by donating your working or damaged appliances (small or large) especially fridges, freezers, microwaves, stoves, LCD’s, TVs’, tablets and cell phones at the TCB branch nearest to you.

Together we can empower the people raising the next generation because when we take care of small businesses, South Africans can take care of their families.

For more information about the good work that Taking Care of Business is doing, please visit:


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