Trio on an upskilling mission
Three women have seen that students don’t all have skills to get jobs
Three Eastern Cape women are on a mission to support struggling pupils to reach their potential.
In 2017 Hlathikazi Beni, Anda Sanda and Nwabisa Dlabathi formed the NGO, Umnombo Foundation, after recognising the challenges faced by pupils at disadvantaged schools and learning institutions.
Fast forward two years, and the trio have helped scores of young people to get their driver’s licences in addition to providing sanitary towels to seven high schools in the province.
Beni said their aim was to equip young people with skills that would prepare them for working life.
“We saw a gap with the lack of support in the Eastern Cape education.
“Our foundation is primarily founded on educational support for schools and the basic education system, as well as skills development. We speak of unemployed graduates and we forget the skills that are needed for such people to be placed in the work place.”
The dire lack of sanitary towels at schools can result in absenteeism and increased dropout rates, she said.
“We felt we needed to encourage and make sure that young girls go to school. We secured a global supplier for the sanitary wear. We just need more collaboration from other donors who can assist us in reaching the target. We want to ensure we can give each girl a packet of sanitary wear on a monthly basis.
“At the moment we have stock at the school premises for emergencies. The schools we adopted have an average of 800 learners and we noticed there are more girls than boys in all these schools.”
Beni said the non-profit no longer wanted the Eastern Cape to come last or second last in the country in terms of academic performance.
“Girls have not been getting the much-needed support in order for them to do well.”
The foundation has also been assisting students from Inkwenkwezi Private College to get their driver’s licences. The college’s owner, Nomhlophe Maxaxuma, said 30 students were part of a driving course.
“What has brought us closer to Umnombo is the fact that it is driven by young people who have been through the institutions of higher learning and who know the difficulties of students coming out of the institutions,” she said.
“They know the real scenarios behind why our students are not employable, so we are bridging that gap because there are some critical skills that are needed in order for them to be employed.
“Five of our learners already have their licences and four more are testing next month.”
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