MISSION STATEMENT: To create a financially stable organization in order to viably employ and empower disabled and disadvantaged members of the community

SLOGAN: “YOUR DREAM, OUR VISION” spells out our desire to fulfil the dreams of our clients as far as production, timeousnes and quality service are concerned and simultaneously fulfilling the dreams of a better quality of life for our employees.

PRODUCT INFORMATION:

  • The Workshop specialises in Vacuum Forming, Packaging and Assembly work.
  • Rendering of a consulting service to clients as to the professional packaging of their products.
  • Manufacturing of Fertilizer sticks that feed pot plants for up to 100 days
  • The Fertilizer sticks are manufactured, packed, sealed and shipped for the export market.

PEOPLE:

We are in the people business. Our aim is to give people a renewed purpose in life whilst earning a living. There is a history of people who lost their way because of their disability and how this “home” gave them a reason to become worthy citizens again.

The Organisation is managed by a Voluntary Board of Directors who freely gives their knowledge, expertise and time as a token of care and gratitude.

The Managing Director of the Company has 44 years’ experience, a person who dedicated her life to the cause through trials and tribulations and has, with her team, built the organisation to what it is today.

UNIQUE SELLING POINTS:

The Workshop prides itself on top quality products and service. The Workers and staff are fully aware of the fact that we are generally being viewed as “second class” by the business sector. The aim of this Workshop has always been to work away from the “old house” idea that exists about Workshops for the Disabled, by creating products and a showroom that will wow members of the public when they walk through the door.     

Statistics:

Permanent staff: 91

Total years of service: 791

Race:17 White / 74 Black

Sex: 57 Female / 34 Male

Disabilities: 57

Up to 150 contract workers, mainly black females and 30% disabled persons, are employed on demand.

The main purpose of the Pretoria Workshop for the Blind is to economically empower people with disabilities and the unskilled. This is done by training people and providing them with a job opportunity in one of the companies. Since this is a work place and not a care centre, the employees are expected to make their own transport arrangements to get to work every day.  This fosters a sense of responsibility towards the job and shows equal respect for the persons with disabilities.

The organisation is keen to show society what people with disabilities can achieve if given the opportunity. It is thus important that the quality of products is on par with or higher than that produced by mainstream businesses. Management believes that this is a more sustainable way of impacting on the lives of the employees and their families. The Social enterprise also launched a profit-sharing scheme for staff in order to promote a sense of ownership in the company.

BUSINESS MODEL

Pretoria Workshop (DreamHouse Workshop) consists of two Companies:

Pretoria Workshop for the Blind- Section 21 Company Not for Gain- Registration 96/00079/08

This Workshop undertakes:

Packaging and Assembly

Vacuum Forming

Shrink Wrapping

Folding of flat stock and sealing

Any other labour intensive work

The Greener Fertilizer Option (Pty) Ltd – Registration 2003/008965/07- Fully taxable

The Greener Fertilizer undertakes:

The extruding of fertilizer sticks for pot plants which are packaged, sealed, boxed and exported to Europe.

FINANCIAL MODEL:

The Workshop owns the property and equipment, is responsible for all the overheads and employs all the staff.  It also provides a full admin service to the taxable company in return for a management fee.  The Social enterprise’s income is made up of sales, subsidies, donations and management fees. The taxable company pays its own production costs, wages and any other direct costs. All profits from the latter are donated to the Workshop, after tax, to cover the costs of overheads.

Due to the diversity, talents and capabilities of the workforce, the employees are paid on a “pay for performance” basis. All tasks have a value and it is up to individuals to work to their own ability and earn a wage according to their output. Members of the workforce who are severely disabled and cannot earn the minimum wage through their own efforts are paid a higher percentage piece-rate than their sighted counterparts to make up the difference. This way people are not stripped of their dignity and “bread winner” status. 

PRESENT CONTRACTS:

CTP Cartons and labels – Folding flat stock into a pail and sealing the ends to secure the container for Nando’s worldwide

CTP Stationery- Promotional packaging of various products

Kimberley Clarke – Packing of female products

Kombat –Manufacturing of blisters, packing of Rats and Mice poison into blister and sealing onto display card.

Radiant Lighting – repacking of fluorescent tubes and shrink-wrapping

Starke Ayres – Supply and package fertilizer for the local market

Talborne Organics – Packaging of fertilizer sticks into zip-lock bags.

The Greener Fertilizer Option – Manufacturing of blisters, packing of gro-sticks into blisters, sealing onto display card, packing into outer boxes, containerise and export to Europe.

Trefoil –Weighing, packaging and labelling of elastic bands into small boxes.

Skygistics- Manufacturing of plastic control boxes.

The manufacturing of blisters as well as assembling and packaging of components for various clients

FUTURE ENDEAVOURS AND NEW VENTURES:  

  • The Workshop obtained a Shrink Wrapping tunnel which creates opportunities for new contracts as well as an added service to existing customers.
  • We are in the process of purchasing a labelling machine, making it possible to render a service and savings to our current customers and simultaneously offering this opportunity for new clients.
  • There is an opportunity for the Workshop to become a partner in a pyrolysis project, which can be very beneficial to the organisation.  Confidentiality is of the utmost importance at this stage, but more information will become available soon.  
  • The Workshop makes use of an agent who is constantly searching for new contracts on our behalf.  
  • The main and most important addition to the endeavour of becoming self-sufficient is the development of an organic fertilizer stick which was done by the General Manager of this workshop. The product will be exported to Europe together with the chemical sticks. It is in the final stages of testing to comply with the myriad of rules and regulations laid down by the EU. There is a client in Holland who is ready to place the first order as soon as the ground work is done. He is also expecting this market to grow as it is in line with international Organic markets. A quote went out to the existing client in Germany. We are awaiting the outcome.
  • At present we are researching the possibility of placing disabled workers in the open Industry to assist with packaging on the premises of the client. The workers will be employed by the Workshop and placed in the industry that will make use of their services. The Workshop is familiar with the needs of disabled people and will assist with any challenges they may encounter.  This is a trial run and the object of the exercise is to form a partnership with this company to find work opportunities for blind and disabled people in the open labour market.
  • The first placements of three people is being finalised in July 2016.

We will have follow up reports on the above as time frames are not possible at present.

CHALLENGES AND NEEDS:

Although the Workshop does its best to pay their disabled workforce a viable wage, there is much that can be done by “Social Services” to assist disabled people with public transport. Transport is a problem for disabled people, it is expensive, the bus drivers are not helpful, the busses and trains are overfull and dangerous. Special assistance is necessary and can make a huge difference in reaching the places of possible employment.

It must be understood that this Workshop is doing it utmost to become self-sufficient, but there will always be special needs for disabled people that is not the case in a normal business setup. The subsidy from the Department assists in augmenting the wages of multiple disabled people to ensure a viable income. It is impossible to recover these costs from the income of sales.

The Workshop is planning to increasingly assist its disabled workers in contributing more towards their Provident Fund to build up an adequate Retirement Fund. In the same way the Workshop is looking into introducing an affordable Sick Fund for its workers that will ease their access to doctors, dental care and operations. Without the aid from the Department this will not be possible

AWARDS AND ACCOLADES:

The Workshop received several awards for its achievements:

  • The  “Business of the Year” by the Afrikaanse Sakekamer of Pretoria in 2002
  • Certificate of excellence by the Department of Social Services and Population Development
  • Certificate of Excellent Service by the South African National Council for the Blind
  • “The best performing business in the category: Larger Business” by Anglo American Zimele Fund.

The CEO has been awarded:

  • Finalist in the Checkers SABC 2 “Women of the Year” in the category:  Business Entrepreneur
  • Certificate of excellence from “Top Women Awards”
  • Certificate for “Outstanding Community Service’” by the Businesswomen’s Association and NEDBANK.

OTHER RELEVANT IFORMATION:

This Workshop believes that it created a business model that can be copied by similar organisations for the Disabled.

Our beautiful, modern building with its “Wall of Light” (for those in the dark) has been an inspiration to many other similar institutions and has given them a challenge to do likewise.