In February I attended the first Bertha Centre collective at the UCT GSB. The guest speaker was Réjane Woodroffe, the founder of the Bulungula incubator. She spoke about her personal journey and how she went on to found the incubator (you can listen to the audio from the session here)
Réjane’s story is really interesting. She grew up in the cape flats and studied a Business Science degree at UCT. After this she spent a few years in investment banking before founding the incubator.
On the website the incubator is described as follows:
WE ARE a non-profit organisation established in 2007 although our work in the area began in 2004 with the establishment of the eco-sustainable and award winning community owned, Bulungula Lodge (www.bulungula.com). We are located in a remote rural area known as the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area which is based in the Mbhashe municipality on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. The Mbhashe municipality is one of the poorest in the country.
And their mission is as follows:
OUR MISSION is to be a catalyst in the creation of vibrant and sustainable rural communities. We work with our community members from CONCEPTION to CAREER with an integrated development strategy in education, health and nutrition and sustainable livelihoods. All projects are designed, prioritised, implemented and managed in partnership with our community and through traditional and elected leadership structures.
What makes Bulungula different
Apart from being an incredible, award winning social enterprise, there are a few things that really stand out for me that make this organisation different:
- The founders live in the area with the community.
- Every 5 years, the founders leave the project entirely on its own to function for a few months. The reason for this is that they want it to be as sustainable as possible and not depend on them.
- The community is involved in the decision making and running of the project
- The organisation is owned by the community through a trust. All the profits are fed back in to the community directly
- The incubator focuses on all aspects of development. They look at everything from education to employment and health.
I’m really inspired by the work done at the Bulungula Incubator and can’t wait to see it continue to grow 🙂
Image is of the Storms River canyon in the Eastern Cape, taken when I visited the area in 2016 🙂
Song of the day: Roses - Chainsmokers
Blog 152/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here