Dr Sipho Mbatha, HoD: Design Studies.
Dr Sipho Mbatha, HoD: Design Studies, said the project will highlight the extent to which networking, advocacy, and meaningful interaction between the community and the University may contribute to increasing access, as well as improving learning conditions and academic achievement for women. “The Department is putting systems in place to ensure the community engagement project grows. We plan to include a research component that is instrumental in engagement. We look forward to hosting the project and facilitate the knowledge exchange that will take place during the engagement”, said Mbatha.
Dr Mbatha added that healthy, educated and empowered women could foster the changes needed to create empowered communities and consequently a more sustainable, peaceful future for all as envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Investing in women could generate a ripple effect that could yield multiple benefits, which extend to their families, communities and even countries. Therefore, a woman, Rose-Mary Naidoo, from TUT’s Design Studies manages the project, with the participating student population comprising largely young women,” he said.
“We are excited to host this event with our three partners. NACOSA, funded by the Global Fund, is a network of over 2,500 organisations working to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS and TB in Southern Africa. Child-line is focused on facilitating the protection of children from all forms of violence and to create a culture of Children's Rights in South Africa. Beulah Africa Foundation aims to bring practical community-based solutions to Africa’s socio-economic development challenges. Together, we will concentrate our abilities to change lives and transform communities in Africa through education, transformation and holistic community development initiatives,” explained Dr Mbatha.
Rose-Mary, the project manager said, “There is a huge need for higher education institutions to become involved in finding ways to assist government in development towards poverty alleviation. The participation of students in a practical community engagement opportunity, provides an opportunity for the development of positive interpersonal relations and professional ethical behaviour within themselves, while aligning their efforts with the vision and mission of TUT. This project will set the tone for many students in Design Studies: Fashion, to engage fully in service to their own communities.”
TUT’s Design Studies second-year students will participate in the community engagement project, as part of their Work-Integrated Learning hours.
Pattern-making and sewing skills will also be imparted on members of the community participating in the engagement.
The project will take place between 09:00 – 16:00 daily.