Factory of hope

World-class TFG facility in Johannesburg provides training and job opportunities to hearing impaired school leavers.

Unemployment, especially amongst the youth, is at unprecedented levels in South Africa. And the problem is even worse for people living with disabilities, who face additional barriers to finding employment.

TFG is committed to tackling this issue head-on by providing training and creating work opportunities for people with disabilities.

As part of this commitment, a world-class clothing factory in Johannesburg was specifically designed for a hearing-impaired workforce and opened in October 2021. The TFG Prestige Clothing Johannesburg factory, brings with it training and jobs, but above all, hope for a better future.

The program came about through TFG’s involvement with Proudly SA, South Africa’s buy-local campaign. We made a connection with St Vincent School of the Deaf, and partnered with the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA and the Thandeka Vocational Education Trust to train their school leavers. Then, TFG’s Prestige Clothing, Bidvest and Berzacks partnered to provide a modern working environment for the learners.

Currently, 77 learners are training through this partnership. After undergoing training, the students start manufacturing T-shirts for sale in TFG stores, and other items including blankets and bags for the Group’s CSI efforts. The manufacturing lines will be increased to accommodate new intakes as the facility grows.

The factory fills Bongani Sithole, production manager of the facility, with pride. “Once you learn how to sew, you can impart that knowledge and skill to others, for generations to come,” he said.

“It is very fulfilling to see these learners getting an opportunity to be empowered. This gives them a sense of independence and self sufficiency, which is very rewarding”