Everyday we here at ENZA get the chance to work and get to know these fantastic women and we thought it would be nice for you as a supporter abroad to get that chance as well. The first short interview was with Vanessa Du Plessis, 30 from Mbekweni. Vanessa is currently enrolled on the computer skills course and Johanna sat down with her for a chat. This is her story.
Johanna: Vanessa tell me, how did you find ENZA and what brought you here?
She smiles but her eyes are dark, she takes a deep breath in before she speaks. Courageously she starts.
Vanessa: Life is difficult without money. My parents divorced when I was 12. My father was nothing more than a sperm donor to me. This is exactly what I called him. 2 years ago he died and with it life changed. I have had a very dark past and things have happened to me but I am determined to change things around for my children’s future.
Johanna: And you are married, and have three beautiful children.
Vanessa: Yes, I have been married for 6 years. My children are Angelique 10, Tracey 5 and Keano 2 next week. I wouldn’t call my marriage happy, I would just call it marriage. He does the best he can with the children as a father figure. But life is difficult as we both are unemployed and it’s a constant struggle.
Johanna: What does ENZA mean to you?
All of the sudden this woman lights up, the question has woken a light in her and the topic is something I can tell has really changed her.
Vanessa: Ooooh… I love it here. Days like today are so amazing like when I made my own folder on the computer. It is MY file and I can put anything I want in it. Coming here to computer skills class is MY HOUR of the day. It gives me confidence to go out and get a job, its not only confidence in the computer skills. It is a feeling. I just feel more confident.
Vanessa is progressing fast & she absorbs the information I give her incredibly quick. This is a woman with a thirst for knowledge and I couldn’t be more proud of her. This fantastic mild mannered and well spoken woman is truly an inspiration to us all.
Nomimi is a 48 year old woman who is in my 10 am morning computer class. She always has a keen attitude towards learning and her efforts I make sure are marked and appreciated. I sat down with her for a chat, and to give you all yet another chance to get to know some of the women who wander in and out of the ENZA doors. She sits up straight and square towards me with a missing front tooth, and an amputated left pinky with her eyes sparkling of anticipation of what I am going to ask her.
Johanna: Dearest Nomimi please can you tell me something about yourself. Where do you come from?
Nomimi: I come from the Eastern Cape. I am married with 6 children, where two of them are twins. They are aged 29, 26, 15, 11 and 8. The twins are aged 11. They have different fathers, my first husband left me and the children for another woman and he has now passed away. I then remarried to my second husband. Life is not easy for us, I am old and have many young children to look after and provide for. Neither my husband nor I have jobs and I receieve support from a governmental Grant which pays 200 rand per child per month. I used to have a job working at a guest house in Cape Town but they had to close down and I lost my job. It was a difficult time. I am looking for a job but it makes it harder when I cannot even affort the transport to go look for employment. I used to have a creche (Daycare centre) for some local children but that quickly stopped when I realised I could no longer affort to feed my own children, how can I then feed the Creche children? They need snacks and food too. My husband is 50, and a bricklayer. The jobs are few and he went to Eastern Cape for 3 months teaching paralyzed children at a primary school, but they refused to pay him and he was forced to leave after those few months. Its a constant struggle. The worst part is that I sometimes cannot affort to pay for my children to eat. Thankfully they are at school now and there they are fed once a day. They tell me “mama, dont worry school gives us food” but I cannot help but feel helpless and hopeless when my children go a day without food. What kind of life is this?
Johanna: How did you hear about ENZA?
Nomimi: I heard about it from my neighbourm Nomso. She said they have education here and there is help there. We are poor and to get help is something we are very thankful for. I like it here at ENZA (she smiles a huge grin bearing her toothless smile). They take people from the downlevel and bring them up. They hold the key and the key is education and learning. With that comes freedom. I really like it here, almost too much.
Johanna: What does the future hold for you ?
Nomimi: I hope that I can someday open up a creche again and take care of my communities children. I want to care for children who suffer.
Johanna: Suffer in what way?
Nomimi: Children with no parents, they have no support. Love (she dawns silently and reflects as if she is thinking of a particular child). Children need love. Love and care for eachother is the main thing in life.
Johanna: If you had any peice of advice for someone who was having a bad day or just not feeling good, what would you say to them?
Nomimi: Dont ever give up. You must try. Because God is for everyone. You are never alone. God knows what you are doing. Remember to love.