From the kitchen to the classroom

Christinah Motlhabane
DEDICATED - Kale talking about her training

Me and My business

After being thrown into the deep end of unemployment, 61-year-old Metinah Kale decided to rely on her hands for her livelihood.

The enterprising granny started a small food processing business from her home kitchen in Gerald Estates but swiftly grew it to become a sustainable establishment with another stream of income by offering training others in the skill of food processing.

Kale processes and preserves a variety of products including fruit jams and pickled vegetable atchar. From a young age, she would experiment with different food items and eventually learnt how to make morula jam by mixing sugar and morula juice.

“It tasted really good so I took a leap of faith and started selling it to my neighbours who equally enjoyed it.”

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From the kitchen to the classroom
Kales products

She recalled the early days of her business when she would stuff her product in recycled mayonnaise bottles, moving door to door trying to persuade neighbours to purchase her product.

Upon realising that the business could sustain her, in 2015 she approached the Ministry of Gender Affairs seeking financial support. “I talked them into buying me a stove, food weigher, casseroles and a gas cylinder,” she said.

A year later in 2016, she enrolled in formal training, “Which opened my eyes and had me longing to do even more.” Once again, luck found her and the District Commissioner’s office granted her P2500 capital injection after the training, to invest in the grown of her business.

“That money really came in handy because I threw out the mayonnaise bottles for new packaging, printed stickers and even had my company registered. My products started selling out then.”

Her products also became popular at local business expos where she made the most money and won numerous awards.

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Then came the pandemic which crippled her business. “Business was at a standstill during the pandemic since I couldn’t access ingredients as well as packaging material. During that time, I used up all my savings.

Nonetheless, the business savvy elderly woman refused to stay down. “I noticed that unemployment had taken its toll on the youth, so I had an idea to train them on making atchar and jam, to also empower them on entrepreneurship.”

She has been conducting the training at a P150 fee per person at her home in Gerald Estate, but is relocating to Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education (FCTVE) for more business traffic.

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She added that she expects around 300 trainees to turn up to this activity where she will be assisted by her three employees.

Kale’s skills also stretch to crafting artefacts from plastics as well as knitting sweaters and hats. Her prayer is that more good samaritans can recognise her work and hopefully sponsor her business’ growth.

From the kitchen to the classroom
Kale\’s certificates
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