Founder of Iziko Stoves, Lindokuhle Duma, has a zeal for social entrepreneurship and seeing young people achieve their full potential; this is what fuels his fire. Iziko is a welding company who develop at risk youth, substance abusers and ex-offenders; so they can self-sustain their livelihoods after rehabilitation. Matoyana Media spoke to Lindokuhle about his social enterprise and what keeps him inspired.
South Africa faces a very big substance abuse problem. In the country we only have eight state owned drug treatment centers. Not only is it very difficult for substance abusers to access treatment, but many within the first month after rehab have gone back to drugs, many are relapsing because they can’t self-sustain their own livelihoods, they can’t find work because of their criminal record, and many don’t finish school because they started drugs at a young age.
Lindokuhle was part of of a 2016 research team, which studied substance abuse and homelessness in the Durban area.Back then, only 22% of substance abusers did not relapse within a month after finishing their rehab programme. Sadly, the numbers will be even smaller now, because of the spread of whoonga/Nyoape.
More statistics around drug addiction, shared by Lindokuhle, include the following:
- Out of the substance abusers on the street 87% of this subgroup population are under the age of 34 years.
- A large portion exhibit high rates of moderate to severe anxiety/distress (44%).
- Primary substances used include Whoonga (82%), Dagga (50%) and Glue (44%). Low levels of frequent alcohol use are reported (12%).
- The government only has eight rehabs that they own in the country, KZN has two.
- For the un-sheltered population, 37% came to the street between the ages of 18 and 24 years, with a further 28% coming between the ages of 25 and 34 years.
- Those living in shelters report coming to the streets at a slightly older age, 29% reporting coming between the ages of 25 and 34 years and 25% reporting between the ages of 18 and 24 years.
- A noteworthy portion of shelter living people first became homeless at an older age with 12% reporting having first come to the street between the ages of 45 and 59 years and a further 5% once they had already reached pensionable age.
In addition to this, Lindokuhle says there is still a social stigma attached to youngsters who have battled with drugs and that Iziko wants to change this.
To help address some of these issues Iziko Stoves’s programme has three pillars:
- Business and job readiness classes – Izikotrains the beneficiaries (substance abusers) while they are still inrehab, on how to start their own businesses, how to be job ready and we help them get back to school.
- Izikowelding business – when they leave rehab Iziko hires them, as manufacturers or selling agents of the Iziko products, as a way to help them build capital to fund the business they want to start, or to register at school,or to job hunt.
- After care support – during the process, Iziko makes sure they stay clean, they attend AA/NA meetings, they launch their business, they find a job or start at school.
Lindokuhle says his creativity, innovation and inspiration comes from the beneficiaries whom they seek to empower. They tell him their stories, their experiences; they shape how we want South Africa to grow and how to become the best. For the welding and manufacturing side, Lindokuhle is inspired by what customers and the market is interested in, henceIziko spends money on marketing and building prototypes to better service their customers. To date Lindokuhle has interacted with over 1300 people on this programme in rehabs since 4 January 2016, helping 40 individuals get a job or start a business, and he is still in touch with all of them.
Many thanks for helping to change the status quo Lindokuhle.
See more at @izikostoves on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit their website – www.izikoinc.com