Deaf worker makes his mom's dream come true with Shoprite

May 15, 2017

Sbonelo Ndwandwe is one of those employees employers dream of. When we heard his plan to help his mom and their community, we immediately wanted to help...

Struggling to find employment is a reality for most Deaf South Africans, with a staggering 70%, who are able to work, currently unemployed and many working as labourers. Sbonelo Ndwandwe, a Deaf employee at Shoprite’s Amanzimtoti store just outside Durban, used to form part of this statistic. Now, with the help of Shoprite’s Learnership programme for Deaf people, he no longer is.

Since completing the Decade of the Deaf programme and joining the Shoprite team, Sbonelo has not only found meaningful employment but has been able to save towards a life-long dream of helping his mother start her own tuckshop and crèche.

However, as a loyal and dedicated employee he no longer needs to save to make this dream come true. After hearing about it, Shoprite decided to reward Sbonelo's years of hard work by donating a retrofitted shipping container, with windows and doors, to his mother to help her kick-start her business.

“Shoprite’s donation gives my mother a sense of freedom. She is able to run her own business and generate her own income. Once her crèche opens she will give many children from Nongoma a safe place to stay while their parents work. It’s a relief for my mother and our community.” - Sbonelo Ndwandwe.

As the largest private sector employer in South Africa, employing more than 140 000 people, we have seen the positive effect that skills development has on communities and the economy.  

Over the past nine years, we provided more than 850 Deaf and hard-of-hearing people with the opportunity to complete an NQF Level 2 qualification. Following a competency evaluation, those who qualify are guaranteed employment within the supermarket group. This retail skills development gives more people access to employment in the retail industry.

About eDeaf

The eDeaf programme, run in partnership with the Wholesale and Retail SETA, develops Deaf youth skills and creates job opportunities for them. The training is available to Deaf South Africans aged 18 – 35, that have Grade 10 and no criminal record (individuals without Grade 10 are put through a mini bridging course). The wholesale and retail industry is perfectly suited for Deaf candidates in most areas, from receiving and merchandising to deli assistants and cashiers.

Deaf candidates are taught five different skills programmes as part of a 12-month learnership in a National Certificate: Wholesale and Retail (NQF) level 2.  The Shoprite Group was the first long-term invested employer in the retail sector to offer this qualification to the disabled (Deaf and hard of hearing) learners and those who qualify are guaranteed employment within the Group following a competency evaluation.  Training is conducted by a specialised team of Deaf facilitators and learners are taught in South African Sign language.

For more information on the Deaf Wholesale & Retail Learnership Programme, visit their website here.