Cape Town - Turkish ambassador to South Africa Aysegül Kandaş with Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu opened two new artisan workshops in Cape Town on Thursday.
The first took place at the Cape Town Society for the Blind in Salt River, with the handover of a basket workshop renovated by the Turkish Co-operation and Co-ordination Agency (TİKA).
Kandaş said TİKA tries to do projects in all provinces and especially in the Eastern Cape, particularly enhancing the lives of the youth and women and those who are disadvantaged in society.
These projects invest strongly in human capital through workshops and training, she said.
“TİKA has many offices around the world, 23 of them are in Africa alone. So one of their offices is based in Pretoria. The office was established in 2018. Since that year, that TİKA office has finished a total of 85 projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Over 60 of them are in South Africa, so we on average have been finishing 15-20 projects a year. I am trying to make this number get bigger every year.”
The National Development Agency, an agency of the Department of Social Development (DSD), has supported the Cape Town Society for the Blind between 2020 and 2023.
At the Cape Town Society for the Blind, Zulu said: “As the government, and in particular the DSD portfolio, we need the support of partners like TİKA to ensure that persons with disabilities live fulfilling and independent lives. Only by working together in close partnership can we ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind.”
Established in 1929, Cape Town Society for the Blind will commemorate its 95th anniversary this year.
Cape Town Society for the Blind CEO Judith Coetzee said the organisation was started by four women whose mandate was to create a safe space for blind and visually impaired people to work and gather.
“The workshop is where most of the weavers work. They’ve been here for many years. It was looking tacky and old. When TİKA came on board, they painted the place, gave new workbenches, chairs and lockers and they gave the place a beautiful renovation.”