LISTEN | Former domestic worker turned author, businesswomen and entrepreneur starts NGO to help others
Former domestic worker Ntombizodwa Merriam Mahlangu obtained her BA degree in human and social Studies from Unisa in 2018 and wants to help other helpers achieve the same success.
Listen to her story here:
Born in Tonteldoos, near Dullstroom in Mpumalanga, Mahlangu always dreamed of pursuing her education. However, a lack of resources and development in her area, a poor education system, financial difficulty and an unplanned pregnancy got in the way of her dream.
When she fell pregnant in 2004, Mahlangu had to pass up an opportunity to pursue her studies at Tshwane University of Technology. To provide for her daughter, she started working as a domestic worker in Pretoria East in 2007.
During this time, she taught herself to use a computer, learnt to drive and found employment as a receptionist. From there, she worked as a personal assistant and public relations officer at a large organisation in the debt regulation industry. With the support of her employer, she started studying part-time in 2014.
She has since written an account of her experiences, Brightness of Diamonds through Soil, a novel that speaks about a domestic worker’s passion for education.
Mahlangu is launching a non-profit company, Help One Helper, to help others like her. Through this initiative, she aims to empower domestic workers, gardeners, nannies and handymen to achieve their full potential and change their lives for the better. This entails providing information on how to enrol at university, and providing career guidance and financial assistance.
Help One Helper will officially be launched in August 2022, but is active on most social media platforms.
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