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New skills facility gives hope in Howick

Faced with the extent of the poverty and unemployment in the greater Howick area, the NPO “Love Howick” has added to its list of projects an innovative education and training centre to empower the unemployed in the greater KZN Midlands region.

The founder of The Dream Centre, Matt Hogarty, said they were following the successful Siya Sebenza, Work for a Living training programme and planned to add a local dimension that would be strongly focused on internships and mentoring. Siya Sebenza (we are working) is a skills development and entrepreneurial training programme which has met with success in other parts of the province and the country.

Matt said one of the churches had reported that up to 90 people a day were approaching them, desperate for a proper meal.

“The Dream Centre is our bid to do something that will help treat the root of the poverty problem,” he said.

Pilot phase of the programme

Fifteen people have been selected for the pilot phase of the programme which started in June and the official launch will be in July. Thereafter it will be open to applications at the Love Howick website ( or in person at the Love Howick Dream Centre, 17 Bell Street, Howick. The prerequisites are that applicants must have finished school and be unemployed.
There are three phases to The Dream Centre training.

The first phase aims to create a paradigm shift – to alter the way the trainees see themselves and employment opportunities; eradicate the notion that the government must be relied on to provide jobs; provide personal empowerment; and refine the individual’s job search.

This is a 13-day programme and there is a cost of R100.

The Dream Centre is a bid to make a difference in tackling the root of the poverty problem.
Picture: Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Phase 2 is a job skills programme that defines what entry-level job opportunities there are and which would be suitable for the individual, such as: merchandising; office or reception work; work as baristas or waiters; computer literacy; and entrepreneurship. Those taking part will get training in the afternoon in specific skills.

Internships and on-the-job training

In the third phase The Dream Project co-ordinators will place the trainees who have undertaken the first two phases with local businesses which will provide internships and specific on-the-job training.

“This is the part of the programme where The Dream Centre will be a bit different from other Siya Sebenza clinics,” said Matt. “There will be a strong mentorship aspect as we are very keen to create lasting job prospects with valuable experience.”

Those participating in training will also be given a proper lunch prepared at the premises.

Howick celebrates a Comrades Champion

The centre is located at the old Afton restaurant premises, 17 Bell Street in Howick.

It will be run by the Chief Trainer, Ray Gumbo, who has already undertaken a specialist course for this purpose, and is passionate about reaching our community.

While a number of local businesses have got involved and helped get the project off the ground, The Dream Centre still requires assistance with:
*Computer equipment;
*Café type tables for work areas;
*Office furniture;
*Kitchen equipment
If you want to get involved or can help with any of these needs please contact Matt on the email:

**The community transformation initiative Love Howick aims to establish partnerships between different sectors of the community (churches, business, government, schools, media) in a bid to provide a cohesive approach to tackling problem areas in the town. As their vision statement suggests, they aim to bring people “together for transformation” as they reach out to provide assistance to fellow community members.
*Other Love Howick projects:
*Renoverge (town beautification project);
*Oakleigh House (an assisted living programme for the vulnerable elderly)
*City Parks Project (establishing green spaces)
*Howick Falls Precinct Rejuvenation;
*Grief Share Programme (provides assistance to cope with the grieving process);
*Street Store (first Saturday of the month, 9am-11am; located at 17 Bell Street, Howick);
*Promotional film clip to promote Howick;

More about Siya Sebenza
Love Howick info on the web
Love Howick on Facebook


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