Women’s Month celebrates the battle for equality in the workplace and society as well as the sacrifices and hardships women had to endure on their road to success. It’s a story Pumeza Mahobe knows all too well.
Ms Mahobe, project manager of the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Injongo Educare Project, grew up in poverty in the small Eastern Cape town of Willowvale, raised by her extended family and the community when her father went on early retirement and her mother moved to KwaZulu-Natal in search of work.
“We didn’t have any money to spare. This posed a tremendous obstacle to my dream of attending university. However, thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of my family, teachers and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, I had the privilege to attend university and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education,” said Ms Mahobe.
“Despite the hardship, I don’t regret my childhood, as it taught me the spirit of ubuntu and the important role that education plays in empowering yourself as a woman.”
The Injongo Educare Project focuses on providing Philippi with early childhood development (ECD) centres. The project includes teacher training and upgrades to existing facilities.
Since 2012, this project has worked with 47 educare centres with a total spend of R12 million.
“With Pumeza’s support, the ECD centres provide a positive environment that ensures the children receive the best possible educational stimulation from an early age, giving them a real chance at excelling in the future,” said Ian Robertson, Rotary Club of Claremont president. “The teachers are also equipped with the necessary skills needed to ensure that these educare centres are sustainable in the long term.”
Ms Mahobe said working on the project made her feel like she was making a difference in the community and doing her bit to empower women. “As the project transforms the ECD centres into professionally run businesses with a business plan, a constitution, a functional governing body, a learning programme for all ages, and confident practitioners who know and love what they do, it empowers the children, teachers and community,” she said.
Ms Mahobe believes that empowering women to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty and inequality will give them a voice; providing the opportunity to be successful in all their endeavours. “Women have a huge role to play in society. They have the opportunity to inspire, have successful careers, be caregivers.
“With these privileges, comes a responsibility to encourage empowerment of others through knowledge sharing and by mentoring young girls to be assertive, goal-driven and educated individuals.”