MRP Foundation is celebrating Women’s Day by honouring two women who are an inspiration in our focus areas of education and skills development as well as in their communities.
Lorraine Kaunda, an inspiring educator and acting school principal from KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal and Durbanite Nonkululeko Mazibuko, an ambitious young mind in the manufacturing space, are two women forging careers in their respective careers. The duo share their story about their lives, their role in their workplace and their journey with MRP Foundation.
Nonkululeko Mazibuko, Jump Start Manufacturing Pre-Production graduate
After completing her tertiary studies in Clothing Management at DUT Nonkululeko Mazibuko joined the Jump Start Manufacturing Pre-Production programme in 2014 to learn vital workplace skills and further her career in the clothing manufacturing space. Looking back, Jump Start was the right choice for her since the skills development programme aims to create an opportunity for young people to develop foundational skills and practical experience to access employment opportunities in the manufacturing and or retail industry. As the top clothing graduate from the 2015 Jump Start class Mazibuko is now flourishing at a strategic supplier to Mr Price Group.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a woman in your family, community and in your workplace?
A: “Being a woman and a mother comes with many responsibilities, especially when you’re a single mom and have to put food on the table and make sure that all the things I need for myself and my son are provided for. My biggest challenge I faced was when my son was diagnosed with leukaemia last year. This sometimes does affect my work. For example, he had a reaction early this year and I had to rush off to the hospital and be away from work for a few days.”
Q: How has the Jump Start programme, and the job placement that resulted from that, empowered you?
A: “The Jump Start programme has really helped me a lot. Now that I’m permanently employed I’m able to provide for my son and also able to pay hospital bills and get all the required medication. It’s comforting to know that I’m able to help in the treatment process to help my son get better. All in all I have great confidence in myself and believe I have a great future ahead of me. Even through all the hardships I’m highly motivated.”
Q: Why did you enjoy your classes with Anisa Mpungwane, the talented Tanzanian designer who is young, successful and making waves in the fashion industry?
A: “Firstly, I believe Anisa is a phenomenal young woman and I’m grateful I had a chance to meet her and have her lecture us for a week. I really enjoyed it because it was an eye-opener – it’s where I learned that if you put your mind to something it can be achieved. She also stressed that as creatives we have to think outside the box, be the best we can be and that all things are possible. I’m confident to say that the world is my oyster.”
Q: What were some of the life lessons you learnt during your MRP Foundation Pre-Production course?
A: “When we started the course we were introduced to two weeks of life skills training which was great because it changed the way I view life and from there I wanted to be a better person. I’m a very shy person, but since we were encouraged to present our work to our class the course had a great impact on me and made me more confident to speak to an audience. I also know more about the clothing industry. As a whole, I’m glad that my passion for clothing is exactly what I wanted to do. I’m learning more every day.”
Lorraine Kaunda, St Christopher’s Acting Principal
As acting Principal of St Christophers Primary School, one of five MRP Foundation Schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal, Lorraine Kaunda has helped steer the KwaDukuza primary school to success. With guidance from the MRP Foundation Schools model, which is a holistic school model focused on school leadership and child development, learners are encouraged to identify and unlock their talents.
Q: Are there any challenges you face as a woman?
A: “In my family, both male and female voices have enjoyed equal status and I have never felt I am excluded or oppressed because of my gender. I think I have been lucky to be part of such a family because this has influenced my daily interactions, confidence and how I conduct myself among people I meet.”
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a woman in a management position in my workplace?
A: “Females are a majority as compared to males in my workplace. This is also the case in management positions. I have never felt that my leadership qualities and principles are questioned or undermined by my colleagues, male or female because of my gender.”
Q: How has the MRP Schools Programme helped to empower you in your job?
A: The support that I receive from my colleagues (both males and females) and MRP Foundation has empowered me to work even harder in helping our school realise its vision of becoming a centre of excellence. On the other hand, I also believe that I have influenced other female colleagues positively to believe that as women we are destined for better and greater things in life and the workplace.”