In February 2017, I traveled to South Africa and had the privilege of meeting Sihle Tshabalala, founder and director of Quirky30, a wonderful organization headquartered in Langa Township outside Cape Town.
Sihle is an ex-inmate who returned to his home township after time in prison and was compelled by a strong desire to empower, advance and promote sustainable livelihoods there. Quirky30 trains female and male unemployed youth, teenage mothers, high school drop outs, ex-offenders and offenders in coding, design, and soft skills, as well as entrepreneurial skills to help them escape the cycle of poverty.
I welcomed the opportunity to help others learn a valuable skill that I have come to love and that can truly empower individuals and change their lives (as it has mine). This year, KLSutton Design is partnering with another generous US donor to sponsor the education of Phindiwe Nqanqaru, a Quirky30 student. Below is Phindiwe’s story, in her own words.
Diary of a Reigning Queen
I am Phindiwe Nqanqaru and I am 23 years old. I’m originally from Eastern Cape. I grow up without parents, my mother passed away when i was 11 and i have never met my father. I have 3 brothers and I’m the only girl. I came in Cape town in 2008 to start my high school and lived with my uncle and his family. After passing my matric I started to look for a job and moved out from my uncle. I worked for an organisation called Home Innovation Labs as an administrator but in February 2017 they close down.
I heard about the place called Quirky30 by a friend and went to get the information about what they do. I’m always a motivated person who like to try new things and not scared of change, so coding was foreign to me and very challenging but after a month I fell in love with it. My goal is learn everything here and be one of the best students, and get a job to those big software development companies.
As a young women I always wanted to open a women and girls empowerment organisation. I feel like there’s still so many challenges that we deal with in workplaces, in our homes and also in our communities. All I want is for girls to learn to be independent and love themselves. And also in a long run I’m going to open my own restaurant and a software development company for woman.
What motivates me is to wake up everyday knowing that life is not easy but I can do better than yesterday and also reading motivational books brightens my day.