“I am a mom of 5 daughters. I lost my dad when I was three years old due to a hit and run accident in a military base in Namibia. When I was six my mom remarried a man who was abusive and an alcoholic. Because he did not want to work, I had to leave school at age 13 to go and work in a factory. I got married when I was 21 years, and had a daughter.
My marriage lasted one year as my husband was on drugs but remarried him six years later after he was clean of drugs. We then got four more daughters, aged 33, 26, 23, and 17. One daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome, whereas another was diagnosed with ADD. This was a very tough time for me, being a working mom and having these kids with their different needs.
When I gave birth to a Down syndrome child, I decided to get another type of work and started as a cleaner in an Occupational Health and Safety office where I upgraded my skills to become the receptionist. Here I could copy and bind the manuals used by delegates in their training as safety officers.
Whilst copying the material I would read the content and become well acquainted with the information and subsequently got the opportunity to sell the courses to companies. I then started at Boardman’s also as a cleaner, observing the way the salesperson would handle customers and queries and when the opportunity arose, I applied for a sales position. This led to the chance to upgrade my skills to become a wedding registry specialist and thereby receiving computer training in the process.
At this time, my husband who was a driver for Russel’s furniture was attacked in Crossroads whilst on duty and lost his right eye due to a brick thrown at him through the window of the bakkie. Five years ago, my Down syndrome daughter was hospitalized with acute double pneumonia and was in hospital for three months. I left my job to look after her. Currently, I also look after my old mom who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
This led me to start selling Paper to help fill the shortfall of funds that we receive from the Government Pension and Grant. My participation in the JASA development programme, as well as the Global leadership course, provided me with an opportunity to become a role model and a beacon of hope for other communities. I am passionate about a community that I am part of and would love to see it as a thriving, crime free and self-sufficient community.
That’s why I want to thank Habitat SA for their commitment to help make a difference to our lives in this difficult stage of building our community in a new Pelican Park and be successful going forward God. I moved to Pelican Park three years ago and am part of the Poverty Stoplight tool. Although we are living off government Grant and have no income, income generation is my red light (very poor category).
In other areas I’m fine, hence me starting JASA, to become self-sustained and learn how to manage resources. This in turn will make me able to co-operate with others in a business venture that will sustain not only me but a few other families as well. We are taught to manage our finances, outsource ideas and brainstorm what a need is in this community.
I was motivated at GLS to step forward and make a difference, and my stepping out can cause a ripple effect which in turn make others aware that we don’t have to accept crime, lawlessness and unemployment as a norm but can and will make a difference to our lives and to the lives of others around us, especially our youth who seem to be lost.”