STORIES FROM OUR LEARNERS

Renitha Sukram (Bhona) was raised and matriculated in Dundee. She started working immediately and later worked her way up through the ranks of Standard Bank. She and her Husband and children moved to Volksrust, and once she began to have success in her Work her Husband became abusive.

“He used to stalk me, park outside the bank to see who I was talking to and who telephoned me, I was not allowed to speak or see people outside the bank or I was accused of having an affair.”

In 2006 whilst arguing with her husband in the car en-route to somewhere, he suddenly sped up and then pushed her out of the moving vehicle… “I was rushed to Newcastle Hospital where doctors doubted I would survive the night”. She was later transferred to intensive care in Sunninghill Hospital and had to undergo 2 brain surgeries. “I had to learn to walk, talk, count and speak all over again”.

In 2009, despite lots of progress in therapy, she was medically boarded from continuing work at Standard Bank, and by that stage her husband was also not working and had turned to alcohol, which meant the abuse became worse. Eventually she plucked up the courage to take her 3 kids and move away from her terrible situation and moved back to Dundee and back in with her parents.

Renita describes the learnership enrolment as follows: “ In 2016 I was sitting outside my house when Phillip of HCI whilst driving passed, stopped and offered me this opportunity to join on a learnership. It was at this point that I decided I was done waiting around for my life to change, I was going to join and make something great happen in my life.

I had a wonderful work experience at the Talana Museum. I got to work in the office, I attended meetings, assisted tourists, balanced the day’s takings, work the reception and switchboard, and gave guided tours of the museum. In Jan 2017 I started working at the Museum shop, where they later offered me a part-time job.

I am forever grateful for the change which this learnership has instigated in my life. It has re-awakened a drive in me… I hope to one day have my own business and I am certain that this has been the start of it all… Thank-you!”

Nokhubonga finished school in 2014 and due to financial constraints at home, could not go to university or college and had no choice but to stay home after her schooling was completed. She also had a young baby to raise, “those were my worst days ever, my life was horrible, and boring, my dreams faded away. I thought I had no future anymore because every time I see my class mate they will tell me about their success, how far they are in life and I would just see my self as a failure. The day came where all my tears were my wiped away the day when Philip came to Dundee and I got the Business Practice Learnership. At first I thought I couldn’t do it because it gonna be hard ‘low self esteem’. The learnership was quite amazing, I learned a lot and also I gained tons of experience.

Our facilitators were the best teachers ever, they taught us new things and concepts everytime. I know sometimes we as learners, we do not listen, we do our own things, we don’t do our work but every time they will bear with us and be patient. I had the best time ever! I met different students from different places, and we became like a family, we respected each other and loved one another”.

Nokhubonga completed her work experience at Electrical Centre in Dundee (also known as “We Quilt We Craft”). She describes the experience as follows: “I met very wonderful people, they gave me love and treated me like I’ve been there for a very long time, I gained a lot of experience from them as a business, and they shared everything I needed to know. I worked very nicely with them and now that the learnership has finished, they have offered for me to work for them part time”.

She used her stipend to help her family if they needed anything. It even assisted her in the raising of her baby and managed to register to study Public Management in one of the local colleges.

Thanks a lot to our sponsors and our facilitators for the great opportunity we had. I now know what I want because of the learnership. I really appreciate everything they did for me. I will achieve my goals and make you proud!

This Young man has inspired me and has put a bit of perspective into my life again. Also, he gives me hope that all is not lost on the youth of today.

His name is Siyanda. In November 2016 we met for an interview to see if he was a good candidate for a learner ship in Business Practices. He has studied engineering, but due to financial constraints was unable to finish. He is very obviously an intelligent young man. Despite him being paralysed from the waist down, and having difficulty getting around using our very inadequate local transport system, when I asked if he could meet me at the Spur in Dundee, he didn’t hesitate to answer “Yes! I’ll be there”. I interviewed around 10 people that day, and he was 1 of 3 who were actually on time.

It didn’t take long to feel inspired by this 24yr old young man. He contracted meningitis when he was just 12yrs old, and after a few days in hospital, he had a stroke, which left him paralysed. His mom from then on has been unable to work, as her sole duty was, and still is, to care for him. His father passed away when he was 6, and so after this tragic turn of events, his mom, himself and 2 siblings (who are still in school) had to survive solely on his disability grant.

He does not complain about anything, and when I asked what he does with his days, I was very intrigued as he told me about the volunteer work he does at the Local Community Centre as the treasurer and how he has recently opened up an NGO (which he is almost finished registering) called Siyanda Community Development Centre. For a few years now he has been running community workshops in arts and culture, HIV & AIDS awareness workshops, karate sessions, talent shows and many more. I asked what he gets paid for this, the answer is simple – Nothing!
He says to me very matter-of-factly, “I am already disabled, I don’t want my life to mean nothing! I will do what I can, no matter what!”

Needless to say this inspiring young man is now on our learnership. He has embraced me as his mentor, and passes many ideas for his future plans for Siyanda Community Development Centre past me. And he has big dreams.

His home is small with narrow doorways, all the furniture is packed as far into the corners as it’ll allow so that he can get through on his rather bulky, old, (heavy) wheel chair. His brother and dainty mum help him around the home.

There are so many people around here who have so many more opportunities given to them , that squander them and take then for granted. He is doing so much with the little that he has. Siyanda, you are an inspiration to us all.
-Kristie Paine (Trainer/Mentor)