Lilian Kalambay

Mam' Lilian as she is affectionately known to Hand in Hand and to many of her community members, is a proud motherand sole bread-winner of six children aged between 14 and 22. Like many of our beneficiaries under the Livelihood project, she is a refugee living in South Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Lilian came to South Africa in 2008, and the journey down south was unpleasant and had to hike in goods trucks to land in South Africa. She received her first break in South Africa when she stayed at a missionary church for three months under the Lawyers for Human Rights. It was there that her family was provided with enough food. She emphasises how life was difficult for her, as she had to depend on the church for food. Lilian started a new life in Rossetenville, south of Johannesburg and later that year started a job as a domestic worker in Fordsburg. A casava plant at her then workplace inspired her to start a business of selling "African" food. In 2015 Lilian materialised her dream and started her business called "African Food Stuffs" in Rossentenville selling fish, spices and cassava with most of her suppliers being in Newtown and Hilbrow, Johannesburg.

Mam' Lilian joined the livelihood project for refugees in July 2017 and got trained on business and life skills. The knowledge she acquired on business marketing presented an opportunity for her to add complementary goods (rice) to her stock. She received a loan in April 2018 which she insisted on using to purchase rice. "There is a high demand for the rice, and clients would walk in requesting for it" she states. The Livelihood project through the mentorship and business skills training has helped Mam' Lilian to better manage her money, execute daily business activities and to keep a better record of stock. Business mentorship is set to continue with Mam'Lilian especially in business marketing and advertising. All the best to Lilian on her journey to becoming a successful and self-sufficient entrepreneur

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