Local Heroes 2023: Pamela Mabini’s passion to uplift younger generation burns brightly

Pamela Mabini, 43, founder of the Maro Foundation, is a compassionate young woman who ensures that the world is a better place by supporting individuals who come from underprivileged communities.

The Maro Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping communities in fighting poverty, addressing gender-based violence and providing basic requirements for pupils.

As a social facilitator with more than eight years of experience in youth and community development, Mabini’s passion to uplift the younger generation burns brightly.

From her own pocket and through financial assistance from friends, she provides uniforms, shoes and food to schools whose pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pupils receive porridge for breakfast before school starts to help their concentration.

She has supplied sanitary towels and toiletries to more than 9,000 teenage girls around the Eastern Cape — 23 schools in Gqeberha, two in Peddie and six in Nqamakwe and Alexandria.

 In the first term of each year she ensures that schools benefit from the Back2School campaign with uniforms, shoes and stationery.

Mabini has a wellness programme that focuses on women, girls and boys who have been sexually abused or have experienced gender-based violence.

She assists by encouraging them to open cases with the police and supports them in court cases.

Meetings are held quarterly at schools to educate young women about hygiene, drug and substance abuse, and mental health.

Putting a smile on other people’s faces makes me happy, and I go to bed smiling, knowing that I’ve touched the lives of needy people

“Girls are hungry for an outsider [to talk to], someone who won’t judge them,” she said.

“My job is to talk about their emotions and wellbeing.”

Mabini helps the homeless by cooking food at home and delivering it to people in need in the surrounding areas.

She also supplies them with toiletries and blankets.

In the first week of June, Mabini and her friends held a blanket drive in Gqeberha and Johannesburg, collecting 280 blankets to hand out to homeless people.

“I was touched by the fact that people are suffering, while I am able to choose what to eat, what to wear and what I want to do,” she said.

“I told myself I am not going to wait for the government to assist while I have the means to help.”

The Maro Foundation has adopted two Johannesburg homes — Sithandiwe Disabled Care Centre, providing food and toys for children with disabilities who have been abandoned by their parents, and Refilwe Leagae Home, which receives heaters and groceries.

“Putting a smile on other people’s faces makes me happy, and I go to bed smiling, knowing that I’ve touched the lives of needy people.”

This year, Mabini started donating matric dance dresses to top achievers in the Transkei who cannot afford their own.

Dumani Primary School teacher Nomatemba Gaxamba said: “Ms Mabini brought about a lot of change in our school. She donated school shoes to needy learners, sanitary towels to girls and food to hungry pupils.

“She makes motivational speeches to young girls and is a role model for the youth in our community.

“Her dedication to needy children makes me very grateful for her help. We are honoured to have her as a community builder.”