Meet the founder - Lindokuhle Duma
EVERY JOURNEY HAS A STORY.
Hailing from a rural village near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal called emaThondwane, Lindokuhle Duma is the founder of Iziko Stoves, a project that aims to help people recovering from substance abuse gain skills and earn money to start their own businesses and reintegrate into their families and society. Moving around to various schools in his younger years, Lindokhule eventually settled in Durban where he completed his schooling and attended the University of KwaZulu Natal to study a BCom in Accounting. A problem solver from a young age, he would always look at issues from a different angle than others, however, entrepreneurship only came later in life.
The idea for Lindokuhle’s project came from a personal place when a friend he had grown up with was in a rehab clinic, and Lindokhule joined his family for a visit. While the family had a meeting with his friend, Lindokhule talked to some of the patients at the clinic and realised how easily it could have been him in this situation. After his friend’s stint at rehab, his friend was killed by a drug dealer he owed money. This made Lindokhule think of ways in which he could help support substance abusers so he started volunteering his time teaching business to them.
Since then the project has evolved into one that is made up of three pillars. The first pillar sees them training substance abusers on how to start their own small businesses such as car washes, food containers and pressure washing. Due to the difficult backgrounds of many of the substance abusers, which makes it tough for them to get the capital to start a business the second pillar sees them building and selling stoves and braai stands from recycled geysers in order to fund the startup of the businesses. The final pillar sees the project helping the substance abusers with settling down after rehab, starting the business and reintegrating them back into society after rehab.
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Lindokuhle Duma - Iziko Stoves Founder.
Lindokuhle faced a number of challenges with the project, having started while still in university he lacked the funds for transport and received no income for his work. Assembling a team that is capable of training the substance abusers in welding without being able to pay them also proved difficult. Another challenge was convincing rehabs that they needed his programme even though he believed in the idea himself.
Lindokuhle is attracted to social entrepreneurship because it gives him the opportunity to solve problems in a sustainable way, making a living for himself while still having an impact. He considers it a no-brainer in a country with so many social ills, which only breed more problems. While it was new to him when he first begun his entrepreneurial journey, he has since realised that social entrepreneurship is the future.