Amakhala and GBS Mutual Bank boost finance skills


Nineteen Amakhala Game Reserve staff members recently celebrated their completion of a Financial Life Skills Programme, facilitated by the Amakhala Foundation in collaboration with GBS Mutual Bank.

The highly-regarded Financial Life Skills Programme was presented by Mfuzo Dyira, Financial Life Skills Co-ordinator at GBS Mutual Bank, as part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. Participants attended workshops for four hours a week over five weeks, and completed a number of assignments. They received their certificates at a special Awards Ceremony held at the Amakhala Conservation Centre recently.

“With the skills to manage their own finances, people can avoid financial difficulties and debt,” said Dyira. “Unfortunately, little financial skills education is provided at school. We at GBS Mutual Bank have taken the responsibility on ourselves to educate our clients and communities to understand the importance of managing their finances and to assist them.”

Designed by GBS Mutual Bank 11 years ago to provide local residents with the necessary skills to manage their personal finances competently, the Financial Life Skills Programme has been attended by almost 1 800 people. It covers theory and practical skills for budgeting, banking, saving and using ATMs safely, as well as managing debt and financial goal setting.

“As a mutual bank, our responsibility includes supporting the people that support us,” said Pat Hornby, Company Secretary of the GBS Mutual Bank. “We play a role in supporting, financially and morally, the communities where GBS Mutual Bank has offices. We believe in giving back to the community, both through direct financial contributions and donations to societies, sports clubs, educational institutions, hospitals, retirement centres and homes; and through upskilling as many people as possible to better manage their finances with the Financial Life Skills Programme. This is in line with GBS Mutual Bank’s solid values, strong purpose and commitment to building a society that takes care of its people and their needs.”

“Amakhala is proud of our staff members who completed this important training,” said Cathy Gush, Community Projects Coordinator for the Amakhala Foundation. “Community is important to Amakhala – more than 80% of our staff members are local and have lived on the Amakhala properties for generations – so developing skills and building capacity in our staff is a priority.”

“Everyone who attended the course gave their best!” concludes Dyira. “Far more than just a certificate, the participants now have skills with which they can change their lives – and the future of their children. We look forward to continuing serving our community in this way, reaching more and more people, year after year.”

A huge thank you to the organisers and to everyone who took part in this course. I didn’t know how to spend my money. I realised that I need a lot of saving! Having an amazing teacher like Mfuzo made the world of difference. It’s been a great journey! – Nkululeko Bruins

To GBS Bank and the Amakhala Foundation, we say thank you! We didn’t think we would go this far. We learnt so much – the experience has helped me to learn how to spend responsibly, budget wisely and to save for my future. – Masizole Sanuse

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