Cobra Empowers Women with Practical Skills

Cobra Empowers Women with Practical Skills

Cobra empowers women with practical skills

Providing people with practical, transferable skills is one of the most important ways to reduce unemployment, raise incomes and improve standards of living in South Africa. Plumbing-related skills are a critical part of this and their far-reaching applications, from residential homes to large-scale industrial developments, make them highly sought after.

Iconic and well-respected South African sanitaryware brand Cobra believes that it has a responsibility to help make South Africa a stronger and more resilient society. It does this by investing in projects that give communities the skills they need to find work and to improve their quality of life. 

Teen Challenge

Since 1998, Teen Challenge South Africa has helped women from a variety of different backgrounds, including those who have dealt with substance abuse, gangsterism and human trafficking, to redirect the course of their lives. Today, the organisation, which also has a men’s centre and halfway house, operates in 33 countries throughout Africa.

“When one of our merchants brought Teen Challenge’s work to our attention, we knew immediately that they were the kind of organisation we wanted to assist,” says Isgaan Hugo, government specialist at LIXIL Africa, which includes Cobra as part of its portfolio. “We want to do everything we can to give back to communities in need and to empower people who are currently unemployed.”

How to fix a leaking tap – and more

Cobra therefore developed a programme designed to equip Teen Challenge’s participants with useful plumbing skills that will make them more employable. With their improved knowledge of water management, participants will also able to highlight the importance of water and water-saving initiatives in their communities.

The programme comprises four three-hour sessions, with the first taking place on Mandela Day, 18 July 2020, at the Teen Challenge Rehabilitation Centre in Eerste River in the Western Cape. The topics covered by the programme include: how to repair a tap washer, how to repair a leaking cistern, how to repair a leaking pipe and how to start your own business.

“We were really impressed with the first session” says Pastor Bentley, who assists with Teen Challenge’s day-to-day operations. “It provided the 30 people who attended with hope that, when they move out of the centre, they will have the skills to find work.”

Even with only the first session complete, Desmaine Beukman, one of the programme’s participants, is already having entrepreneurial ideas. “I realised that having these skills could give women the opportunity to establish themselves in this field,” she says. “With South Africa’s current gender-based violence crisis, women would likely to feel safer if they could find a female plumber to help them. I think there’s a business opportunity here.”

“Our hope is that, with new, relevant and useful skills under their belts, Teen Challenge’s participants will be able to create new and successful lives and businesses,” adds Igsaan.