Celebrating one of the women part of MRP Foundation’s Jump Start Retail Frontline Programme
Siphokazi Mangesi’s Career Journey
Skills Development Programme: Jump Start Retail Frontline Programme, completed in 2018
Employment Post Jump Start: Self-Employed as a clothes reseller
Current Employment and Position: Stock Clerk, SPAR Distribution Centre, Port Elizabeth, Started November 2019
This women’s month we are proud to celebrate the amazing women who are breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality through our Jump Start work readiness programme. Women’s equality and empowerment is Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations.* As a youth development organisation, MRP Foundation’s purpose is to empower youth to reach their full potential and we’re proud to share that since 2015, 9,983 women have been employed through Jump Start’s skills development programmes, with thousands more trained. Through skills training and life skills, youth are prepared for entry-level retail positions, enabling them to support themselves and their families and build their career journey.
Jump Start alumni, twenty-nine-year-old Siphokazi Mangesi, has had a difficult life but is now self-sufficient and has hope for a better future, thanks to her employment at SPAR. As a stock clerk at SPAR’s Distribution Centre (DC) in Port Elizabeth, Siphokazi is the breadwinner of her family. She dreams of one day owning a successful business as well as achieving her long-term goals.
“I had a difficult upbringing, my life was very sad but by God’s grace he has lifted me up. Growing up I became a mother to my siblings at a young age because my mother left us to attend her brother’s funeral in Cape Town and did not return. I had to grow up very quickly to help them but luckily God sent two angels to my rescue, my neighbours who took us in and welcomed us with warm open arms into their home. Things were very challenging because there was only one breadwinner and we had to apply for government support and they became our foster parents. Because of my situation, I always dreamt of taking my family out of poverty and becoming successful and independent.”
After matriculating, Siphokhazi studied Business Management and completed her N6 certificate. However, she struggled for a long time to get in-service training to complete her diploma until, in 2018, a friend introduced her to the Jump Start Retail Frontline Programme. The 2-week course assists unemployed youth with entry-level retail experience. For Siphokazi specifically, it provided motivation and the first week of life skills was emotionally beneficial.
After the programme, although Siphokhazi couldn’t find immediate formal employment, she continued to sow into her future by selling clothes as a clothes reseller. Although a difficult time, she didn’t lose hope. About a year later she was employed by SPAR, as a stock clerk in the inventory department of their DC in the Eastern Cape.
Her advice to youth who are on the search for a career is to focus on your mental attitude, sharing how “the journey starts with your mindset. Some people allow their upbringing to cloud their judgement. But in life, it’s not like that. God has put challenges in our paths which make us stronger. To become stronger in handling your situation, start by changing your mindset, your attitude and read positive books.”
“I have no words but am grateful and it [Jump Start] has lifted my standard and took poverty out of my household. We are happy we don’t have to worry about where we are going to get bread or something to eat from any more.”