×

We've got news for you.

Register on DispatchLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Mdantsane mom’s passion is to keep girls at school

Ziyanda Mnwana from realised how the struggles young school girls endure in sustaining their academic career due to the lack of basic essentials. She established an organisation, Owalu in March 2020, where she donates sanitary towels and toiletries to children in need.
Ziyanda Mnwana from realised how the struggles young school girls endure in sustaining their academic career due to the lack of basic essentials. She established an organisation, Owalu in March 2020, where she donates sanitary towels and toiletries to children in need.
Image: NAYFUL PICTURES

As mother of two boys, Mdantsane-born Ziyanda Mnwana realised the struggles young school girls endure in sustaining their academic careers.

The 32-year-old established the organisation Owalu NPO in March 2020 when she started visiting schools, giving motivational talks and handing out sanitary towels and toiletries to grade 12 pupils.

Her perseverance and commitment helped her feed families in dire need of food.

I do this with my whole heart because I know what it is to go to bed hungry and also know what  it is like to not have sanitary towels and you end up not going to school

Mnwana said: “I do this with my whole heart because I know what it is to go to bed hungry and also know what  it is like to not have sanitary towels and you end up not going to school.”

The inspiration for establishing the organisation came from realising there are still many young pupils who live in impoverished backgrounds and struggle to get basic essential needs.

“Seeing my community struggling to make ends meet pushed me into making a difference.

“I have witnessed good things done for the community in some places, but it was rare seeing good deeds being done in Mdantsane.”

Mnwana visited more than 10 schools in Mdantsane where she donated sanitary towels.

“Without the basic essentials, some children drop out of school and get involved in criminal activities or fall pregnant at a young age.”

Last year, she started an initiative to collect school shoes and uniforms for primary school pupils. Mnwana also runs the programme, Let’s keep a girl child at school, and it forms part of her NPO.

She recently supplied 10 teenage households with groceries so that when the Easter weekend came they did not feel left out.

My family and community members helped me identify families that are struggling, and they benefited from the groceries I donated to them

“My family and community members helped me identify families that are struggling, and they benefited from the groceries I donated to them.

“I also come from a poor background, but now I am fortunate enough to afford my livelihood and also my family.

“I want to show these children, especially young girls, that it is possible to take yourself out of poverty.”

Her communication skills helped her in attracting people who assisted her initiative by donating the essentials she requested.

She said: “My colleagues, family and friends help me in making a difference in people’s lives.

“I also post on social media platforms where I get donations and resources in making this initiative a reality.”

She said some of the families were child headed-households and other households that solely depend on pension grants.

She has encountered some challenges, as some people took advantage of her free products.

“I would get requests from people who earn an income, and they would ask for sanitary towels.

“I put my foot down, because the project is for those who cannot afford to buy a packet of sanitary products on their own.”

She explained the meaning behind the NPO’s name, Owalu.

“I took both of my sons’ names, and used the first letters of their names. My first son’s name is Oyena Wam and my second one is Lisolethu Uyai.

“My organisation is my baby girl, as I do not have a daughter,” she said.

DispatchLIVE


subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.