Empowering Women through Education – Women’s Month
With August coming to an end, I reflect on how fortunate I have been this month to speak at a number of Women’s Day events. I am grateful to be able to do what I love every day, whether it is one-on-one as a therapist or to an audience as an inspirational speaker. August is a month of empowering women; sharing inspiring stories to celebrate achievements and recognise the challenges of balancing multiple roles at home and at work.
What about the women who do not have their stories told? Women who have not always had the opportunities, but despite their challenging circumstances, work hard to achieve the same goals. To get to do what they love.
Meet Franciska. She works at Annex 117 at Milnerton Medi-Clinic cleaning our offices every Tuesday and Thursday. What most do not know about Franciska is that she has a dream to be a Social Worker. While working as a domestic worker at different homes and offices during the week, Franciska studies in the evenings. She can only afford two subjects each semester, but is determined to graduate and qualify as a Social Worker through UNISA. She always brings me her exam results, beaming with pride at her marks.
I met Franciska when she started working at our offices in 2010. I remember her asking many questions about how I came to be a Clinical Psychologist. She was quite taken aback to meet someone with a disability who has studied at university and has a career. For her, studying was never an option growing up in an impoverished community in Zimbabwe, and certainly not for someone with a disability.
Franciska has many challenges. She has known a great deal of pain and suffering after losing her three year old son through drowning in 2003. Two years later, she lost her husband after he suffered from a stroke. As a single parent, she supports her mother, siblings and two children in Zimbabwe on her limited income. She recognises that an education is key to having a better life for her and her family. That is what inspired her to attend classes at Joe Slovo Night School to obtain her matric certificate at 45 years old.
What I know is that South Africa needs more social workers, teachers and nurses. These professions are some of the most important jobs in our country. Franciska is passionate about helping others, particularly women and children. She knows what it is like to struggle financially and experience trauma. She hopes to make a difference in her community, which she already does through volunteering at the Vuselela Soup Kitchen and as a trauma counsellor at the Community Intervention Centre (CIC)
If you know of any opportunities for a bursary for Franciska, please be in touch. She does have South African citizenship.
Franciska wants to be a role model to her children. She wants to have meaning in her life. She wants to do what she loves – helping others.