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She’s making a difference in children’s lives

Ngwekazi Makaba, 39, from Amalinda started the Nam Foundation in 2020 to help supply feminine hygiene products and school shoes to disadvantaged youth across Buffalo City.
Ngwekazi Makaba, 39, from Amalinda started the Nam Foundation in 2020 to help supply feminine hygiene products and school shoes to disadvantaged youth across Buffalo City.
Image: SUPPLIED

Local Hero nominee Ngwekazi Makaba, 32, from Amalinda, gives young girls the chance to go back to school instead of staying at home during their menstrual cycles.

Makaba founded the Nam Foundation NPC in 2020 which collects and donates feminine hygiene products and school shoes to children at various schools across the city. 

Makaba said: “I know what it’s like having to stay home, and being embarrassed to come back and telling your teacher why you were absent.

“I want to help restore confidence and dignity in these children so they can keep learning.”

The hotel receptionist has been involved in charitable work since 2012, but created her own NPC to formalise her passion for giving back.

My mother had a heart for giving. She was a nurse, but would still help others when she didn’t have much. When she died in 2011, I knew I had to keep that going

“My mother had a heart for giving. She was a nurse, but would still help others when she didn’t have much. When she died in 2011, I knew I had to keep that going.” 

Originally from Nqamakwe, Makaba walks to the taxi rank and collects donations of sanitary products from commuters on their way to work.

“There was such a need in my village,” she said.

“There is still so much stigma around periods, not only in children but in parents too.

“The terms we use are backward.

“Nowadays girls get their periods at age nine and parents say their daughter is now a woman.

“Small girls cannot speak about what happens to their bodies. We have to change that and start an educational conversation around female health and hygiene.” 

The foundation has donated 2,300 packs of sanitary pads and 401 pairs of school shoes this year.  

“In my research I found out young girls were using newspaper, rags and other materials.

“When we started going to schools we saw there was a big need for school shoes too. Many times I have used some of my salary to fill the need.”

Ngwekazi Makaba, 39, from Amalinda started the Nam Foundation in 2020 to help supply feminine hygiene products and school shoes to disadvantaged youth across Buffalo City.
Ngwekazi Makaba, 39, from Amalinda started the Nam Foundation in 2020 to help supply feminine hygiene products and school shoes to disadvantaged youth across Buffalo City.
Image: SUPPLIED

The foundation has donated supplies to more than 14 schools, including Kusile Comprehensive School in Duncan Village, Dumisa Primary in Mdantsane, Mbulelo Primary in Scenery Park and the St Thomas School for the Deaf in Qonce. 

The principal of St Luke’s Primary School in Nxaruni, Phembeka Daniels, said she had been overwhelmed by the generous donation of 50 pairs of school shoes last year.

“We held a big event with the parents,” she said.

“Ngwekazi had made a list of the neediest children, and we invited their parents, most of whom are unemployed.

“She has such wonderful energy and is full of love.

“Ever since attendance has improved.

“Some of these children have to travel long distances to get to school and now they can walk with confidence.”

Community leader and old colleague Xolani Ntese, 39, from Scenery Park, said he had contacted Makaba in the hope her foundation could help schoolchildren in the area. 

“I saw pupils walking to school wearing their Christmas takkies or flip-flops,” he said.

“The Nam Foundation has made a big difference and I saw that when she came with donations, all the parents came and were so grateful.

“Ngwekazi grew up in a rural area and knows what it’s like to have nothing.”

DispatchLIVE


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