One starfish at a time!

    Since its inception in 2004, Zikulise has offered income-generating skills training to over 7000 unemployed community members at no cost to the beneficiaries. 

    This is achieved through fundraising efforts. Together with funders and sponsors and the invaluable support of the community, Zukulise is making the world a better place for the unemployed.

    It is important to tell this little story with a very large message to understand the true impact of what it means to help even one person.

    Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man and that he was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

    He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied. "Throwing starfish back into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

    To this the young man replied, "The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I do not throw them in, they will die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

    As If he hadn’t heard the young man bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it in the ocean. As it met the water, he turned and smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one.”

    The Zikulise Community Upliftment Project NPC was founded in 2004 by Executive Director Julie Jonson. For the last 19 years, through grants and donations, Zukulise has been able to educate, empower, and train unemployed people so that they can grow themselves.
    Self-empowerment is invaluable as it gives a person a sense that they are in control of their lives and enables them to make good decisions, take action, and begin to achieve their goals.

    At the end of 2006, Zikulise relocated to the municipal premises known as the Empangeni Arts & Crafts Centre and entered into a long-term nominal rental agreement with the municipality. In 2010, they increased their premises and added a pottery training unit, offices, and storage facilities. This was all achieved through corporate sponsorship. In 2018, change took place, and a second training venue in Richards Bay was realised.

    Zikulise means to grow oneself in IsiZulu. And they continue to aim to educate, train, and empower the unemployed. They do this by offering a wide range of entrepreneurial skills and training courses. Their vision is to uplift the local community. They offer skills training support, after-care support, advice, and mentorship.

    At Zukulise, they believe that the creation of sustainability for new and existing small enterprises is essential. They will have the potential to contribute to the local economy and become contributing members of their communities through viable, sustainable businesses.
    Zikulise helps the unemployed, youth, and women, as well as those who are physically challenged and are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The idea is to provide people with skills that will help them succeed. The passion is to assist people in achieving their dreams, living better lives, and enabling them to help themselves and others.

    You can contribute, become a volunteer, and leave a legacy. To reach them, please contact Training Centre # 2 Eagle Room, Zululand Chamber of Business Foundation Park, Richards Bay. Email address: 

    Author: Seeff Richards Bay
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