WHAT WE DO

Stimulating township economies through quality mask production and distribution to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. We find innovative partners to help us invest in township SMMEs and the creation of youth gig jobs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The first YES mask export order is out! Township entrepreneurs exported high-quality breathable masks to the EU. Proudly made with love from Diepsloot, Alex and Tembisa. You too can protect your customers, companies and communities.

#SayYES to #Masks4All and protect your company, customers and communities

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If you are a company, your procurement of masks through YES (level 1 B-BBEE)
will entitle you to claim 135% of your qualifying spend.

IMPACT TO DATE STATS:

121,000 +
face masks
distributed

R1,125,000 +
income back into
township communities

272 +
seamstress jobs
maintained

25 +
YES Youth
gig-jobs created

R131,400 +
To fund technical
and skills development

Helping to shield the township economy one mask at a time

WHERE WE HAVE
MADE AN IMPACT:

The future begins now, and we can’t wait to grow it with you.

OUR PARTNERS:

THESE ARE THEIR STORIES

My name is Mduduzi Ngubane and I am proud to be making #Masks4All with YES.

I have 3 years sewing experience and the need to start making masks kicked in when COVID-19 was declared as a national disaster. When I realised the kind of danger my rural area was in because of the Coronavirus and the growing number of infections in KZN. As a sewer, I felt like it is my duty to make sure that people from my community do not have to travel far in town to purchase masks. Doing nothing at all is like putting the whole family in danger, later escalating to the entire village. I wanted to protect everyone at a low cost.

I have 7 people employed in my company and they are from my community. Although it is not that big, I get satisfaction from the fact that I have created employment for other families in my community. I sew close to 150 masks per week. YES asked me to make 120 masks but due to different mask sizes (Large and medium) I only managed to make 94. Members of my community are my everyday clients. I also wish I can have a stall at the mall where I will be able to sell our masks.

Since I have received money from the order from M&C Saatchi, my life has changed. My purpose has grown because now I am now able to make a valuable contribution to my community. I give the elders in the disadvantaged families free 2 masks each to make sure that they protect themselves from the Coronavirus, especially when they leave house.

I studied mechanical engineering only because my parents did not understand my dream of wanting to become a fashion designer. My name is Nomfihlakalo and I am proud to say that I am following my dream in a way that also shows how important the work I do is during this time especially.

I worked in the mechanical and engineering industry until I decided to resign in November last year and joined Gateway School of fashion in Pietermaritzburg to develop myself to be the best I can be in fashion with my own brand. I have currently employed two youth and we sew roughly 100 masks in a week and being part of the #Masks4All project with YES allowed me to earn an income that I can use to invest in buying fabric that can be used for face masks so that I can see them directly to the public through my brand.

Hi, my name is Nonjabulo Gcabashe and sewing has always been my passion; I bought my first machine in 2017 but I did not know how to use it.

February this year I joined the Gateway School of Fashion and my sewing abilities started to blossom. When the Coronavirus outbreak news started, I saw this as an opportunity for me to go solo, polish my sewing skills and startED my own sewing business. The demand to wear mask was high as COVID-19 was spreading like wildfire and staying in Pietermaritzburg.

Central was a good central place for me to start my business. I did not know how to make masks, but that didn’t stop me, I went on to google to look for ways to sew masks. My mom had leftover fabric which I tested out and the masks got sold out within few hours.

When I got an order from YES, I knew that as an individual you must start small, working your way to the top. Skills like commitment, time management and service delivery were tested, and I managed to de-liver as per their request. I want to grow my sewing business and with the money I have received, I will continue to buy fabrics and more sewing machine.

My name is Thokozani I am 26 years old, I am a founder of a Company called BACK STITCH CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS that currently employed 6 people. BACK STITCH CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS (PTY) Ltd is a clothing manufacturing factory that is in a growth stage. It has been in existence for 5 years but registered with the CICP in February 2019.

The Company is run by T. Buthelezi, who is a Fashion Design Graduate at The Vaal University of Technology and has over 10 years of experience in the clothing business. Currently the company provides products and services for online stores, corporates, organisations, small businesses and individuals. Back stitch encourages people to start their own brands and it becomes their supplier.

We have about 7 distributors that buy the cool emoji masks in 100 units which enables us to sell them at a discount of R5 each. We have walk-ins that approximately buy about 30-40 masks per day and we have partnered with someone who uses their car to deliver. We courier to other provinces. So, we make and sell about 800-1000 masks per week. We recently added new equipment from the sales we made and employed few people and we can now double what we normally produce. We are currently working on 100 masks for Mavizo Projects which is a construction company.

That has given us the ability to offer weekend sewing classes that some pay us to also improve our revenues, but mostly it’s people that we train to then employ when we feel they have acquired the necessary skills. Back Stitch’s aim is to bring hope, make dreams a reality, develop and most importantly create sustainable jobs.

Sifiso Moyo and Bernard Msimango are the founders and owners of The Box Shop on Vilakazi Street in Soweto The Box Shop is a subsidiary and a trademark of Mingle Boxes Pty (LTD). The Box is a containerised SME enabler space that Sifiso and Bernard characterise as a commercial business with a social heart where the intent is always to support and promote local emerging artists, designers and creative businesses. As Sifiso puts it ‘to grow, we must collaborate’. The Box Shop currently provides a retail presence to 91 small businesses including 45 designers, fine art artists, social media freelances, media and advertising agencies, video graphic designers and marketing and media enterprises.

When COVID-19 struck South Africa, and the need for masks became apparently, Sifiso and Bernard knew they could use their network of designers and CMT (Cut, Make, Trim) practitioners to produce masks. However, CMTs don’t have systems, processes, controls and access to market and the pair needed to provide business development support on site – along with other practical services such as sewing machine repair. Ultimately settling on two models, firstly fund raising to equip a CMT site and secondly a ‘bring your machine’ model where self-employed CMTs are able to earn on a pay-per-mask basis.

Working with YES, and other partners, Sifiso and Bernard have been able to provide work opportunities to 60 people many of whom are sole bread winners and / or single parents. They estimate each bread winner is supporting five to six dependents on average – and in some case as many as 10 with some of the elderly CMTs supporting their grandchildren. Without this work, most of these CMTs would be without work and an income.

As part of their sustainability strategy the pair have encouraged the CMTs to bring in their children (if they are not working) to help transfer skills and ultimately start earning an income. Post-mask production they see local government CMT contracts for school uniforms as being important to keep the current CMTs working. This is in addition standing Box Shop orders such as sending jackets to Switzerland and other plans around making accessories which they see as a more affordable option for cash strapped consumers.

COVID-19 has impacted townships significantly but the production of masks has helped many of the CMTs Sifiso and Bernard support earn an income. The pair remain optimistic hoping to see the digitisation of township SMEs post COVID-19 and the integration of technology into these businesses to help capture value. They also hope to see government supporting and resuscitating local sectors including textiles. As Bernard notes ‘talented CMTs are there – they just need support and access to markets’ and Sifiso closed “we need to produce 80% of our CMT goods locally, let’s make local the new normal.

I was employed to work as a mask distributor in Port Elizabeth through YES, SA Youth@Work and Uber. This was my first ever job that helped me learn more than I could ever imagine. I learnt valuable skills in customer relations, as well as being able to serve customers well in the role that I had. It is a great feeling to be part of this project and I would like to do this all over again if I could. Thank you for choosing me to be of service to others.

– Davis Rizaan

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This was a great experience for me to learn about how I am playing a role in saving people’s lives. Sometimes it was difficult to deal with their mood but managing through it happened when I calmly explained the importance of wearing a mask. I am so thankful for this opportunity that helped me learn so much and help so many people.

– Charita Johanna Mokhanda

It was fun working with masks. It was a very new thing and awesome to get myself into something new. It was a nice experience to help people stay safe and I have learnt a lot, especially how to communicate with people. I was also grateful to help so many people with the work that did. Whenever I see anyone wearing a mask that I distributed from Alex Mall, it makes me smile and proud to know that I am saving lives. Thank you for choosing me to be part of this amazing opportunity.

– Busisiwe Ngubane

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