Ceramics project a positive influence for disabled beneficiaries

Wed, 17 August 2011

'I look forward to coming to work every day, it is very exciting at work and we always have a good time together. At first I did not think that I would be able to make the holes in the beads but now I can do it. It is nice to show people that I have made something that can be sold in the shops.” Harry, beneficiary

REPORT 3: Irene Homes: A ceramics project for mentally disabled people

Through this project Irene Homes aimed to employ 10 disabled people to assist in the manufacture of ceramic products. This would allow these individuals to earn an income of their own to supplement their disability grants, while at the same time relieving family members of the burden of caring for them around the clock.

Originally Irene Homes planned to implement this project between September 2009 and September 2010. After receiving funding from the National Lottery to cover the costs of setting up the workshop, it was agreed that the SASIX funding would be used to fund the operating costs once the Lottery funding had all been allocated.

Activities and Impact

While the project was initially designed to provide jobs to 10 people, the increased funding that has been made available allowed the home to extend the project to 12 people at a time. A total of 25 people have received training and worked on the project at some stage, but many of these have chosen to work elsewhere in the protective workshop.

All of the equipment needed for the project has been purchased and installed. Along with the 12 disabled beneficiaries, the project also employs 10 able-bodied people to operate machinery that is too dangerous for the disabled beneficiaries to work with unaided.

The project manager has reported that the disabled beneficiaries have all benefited from the tactile experience of working with clay and that this has generally led to improvements in coordination and muscle function. The project has also provided beneficiaries with a place to interact with one another socially and reports indicate that many have become more outgoing and socially confident during their involvement in the ceramics project, which has been a stable, positive influence in their lives.

The project has started to generate some income from the home. It has thus far sold R6 152 worth of products.


The original budget for this project was R151 731. The first tranche payment of R63 250 was made to the Irene Homes in March 2008. This portion was spent according to the grant agreement. Following this, however, Irene Homes received Funding from the National Lottery for the same project. The organisation then negotiated with GreaterCapital to delay the payment of the outstanding amount of R88 481 until after lottery funding had been spent. It was agreed that this amount would be paid in two tranches of R44 241 and spent according to the budget outlined below. The actual expenditure column in the table below refers to the first tranche payment only.

DescriptionTotal Budget (as per budget approved by SASIX)Total Expenditure to date
Stipends 12 Beneficiaries12 210 6 105
Stipend Project Supervisor19 6809 840
Electricity18 0009 000
Transport3 0001 000
Materials (Clay, glaze, paint, wire etc)28 0865 926
Security3 0001 500
Admin & Accounting3 0001 500
Protective Clothing/ Workstations1 500757
TOTAL88 47635 628


The joint funding of this project by the National Lottery has affected the timelines of this project, which according to the original grant agreement should have been completed in September 2010. Additional funding was, however, necessary for the successful implementation of the project as costs were much higher than initially anticipated by Irene Homes. It is hoped that the remaining SASIX funding will cover the projects operational costs while it develops the ceramics business to a point where it can cover its own costs.


The costs associated with this project have been far higher than initially estimated by Irene Homes. The organisation was fortunate in that it received lottery funding to make up the shortfall so that it could still go ahead with implementing this project. The biggest challenge in coming months for Irene Homes will be to increase the income earned by the project so that it can start to cover some of its own costs and create a sustainable source of income.

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