empowerment - Uniondale Integrated Empowerment Projects

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UniEP (the Uniondale Integrated Empowerment Project) was originally intended as a co-ordinating structure for a number of existing projects, but it quickly became apparent that it had a much wider role to play- a holistic role which would address not only the immediate problems of unemployment, but also the longer term questions of the social environment, human development and commercial sustainability.

The model is simple: UnIEP exists as a resource for local upliftment and as the co-ordinator and fund-raiser for various separate projects which are either businesses-in-training (like Creative Fashions, which makes tracksuits and sports clothing to order) or the kind of self-help programmes which every community needs (such as a Homecare programme for AIDS sufferers and a Community Kitchen).

Many of the projects in the UnIEP stable are well on their way to becoming self-sufficient business units. The flagship is surely the restoration of the Royal Hotel which will become a tourist centre in Uniondale accommodating the Uniondale Tourism Office, Tourist Rest Rooms, a Tearoom and retail showroom of products manufactured by Uniep's projects.

There's also Comfiserve, of course, and Creative Fashions, but there are others, too: Rooirivier Rooimiere, for example (literally Red River Red Ants - an obvious reference to that species' famous industriousness), which produces quilts and curtains and has supplied such illustrious clients as George's Fancourt Hotel. And Nomdo Meubels, which manufactures fine furniture out of blackwood (when they can get it these days), poplar and pine. These projects have been funded with donor capital - but once they're able to stand alone, that's what they're expected to do.

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UnIEP is sponsored by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF)

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