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We did it!

Graduates from Fisantekraal Centre for Development once again received recognition for their hard work and efforts at the recent graduation ceremony.

“This is a very proud moment for us,” says the new chairman Neels Hubinger. “Today I see so many happy eyes and colourful people. My message to you is ‘Congratulations and well done. You have all planted seeds and invested in your future, today you are reaping the rewards. Going forward, I leave you with this – if you serve well, you will lead well.’”

The three-week Job Readiness course which all participants have to complete when they start at FCD delivered 83 graduates. “We are so proud of these students that have had the courage to overcome many obstacles to be able to successfully stand here today. Ii is an incredible blessing to be able to go to work everyday and to do something as worthwhile as this,” says Cheryl van der Merwe, training coordinator at FCD.
In and amongst all the beaming Job Readiness graduates there were also a few stars. Sunshine Awards went to Sesethu Danga, Jenice Franz, Nadine van Niekerk, Hildegard Goosen, Volente Muggel, Charles Mathews, Maynie Booysen and Zandile Gabavana. The Most Motivated to Succeed awards went to Msa Joyi, Janelle Meintjies and Ntombi Ladlovka.

For many of the students that go for training at FCD life is a struggle. Ntombi, for example, worked from 12 pm to 7 am every day before she came to class. She came because she wanted to improve her life and give herself a better chance of succeeding.

Msa Joyi went so far as to take time off from his job at a cleaning company to improve his chances of success. Now that he is back in his job he says: “I am ready to be a more engaged worker and to continue to learn more and more.”
The 10-week Office Basis course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required for an entry level assistant, receptionist or call centre agent. There were 19 OB graduates and Sesethu Danga who went on to complete OB as well – received the Sunshine Award in this course as well. “Despite so many personal challenges, Sesethu never arrived without a smile on her face, she was a true inspiration to all of us,” says Cheryl.

The second Sunshine Award went to Mark Jacobs who, according to Cheryl, bravely faced a classroom full of smart ladies who regularly challenged him on a variety of issues. The Most Motivated Awards went to Suzette van Wyk and Wendy Capa.

Suzette started as a cleaner in a hospital theatre straight out of school and three years later she took o more responsibility at another cleaning agency. While working there Suzette realised that she would like to work in administration. She enrolled at FCD and excelled in her course. When she did not find a job immediately after graduation, she was so inspired that she went on to enrol in a hospital administration course at MediClinic.

Due to unforeseen circumstances Wendy could not complete this course the first time she enrolled. However, she came back to redo the course and succeeded with flying colours. ‘I thought it was going to be easy, but it was very hard for me and sometimes I wanted to just quit. Then I had to quit, but God gave me the strength to come back to do this course.

This is just one of the examples of how students that have been to FCD become inspired to improve their lives even more.
The 12-week Frail Care course is probably the most demanding course offered at FCD. It is a very academic course and also has a tough physical component as well. Altogether 21 students successfully completed this course.
The Sunshine Awards went to Sonja Horne and Howard Steyn, as well as Destiny Albertyn. The Most Motivated Awards went to Lorraine September and Honjiswa Ngcwangu, as well as Metitia Manuel. “Howard was our first male student to complete this course and we are so proud if him,” says Cheryl. “He is a remarkable young man who despite losing his home and his family in a fire last year, managed to enrol in the course and persevere. He is a beautiful person and is going to bring sunshine to many people on his path forward.”

Another determined student who didn’t let her circumstances stand in her way, is Honjiswa. Despite living in a shack with no running water, communal toilets and constant noise and fighting in her environment, as well as a huge language barrier, she achieved what she set out to do. “Sometimes the tests in English overwhelmed her, but she just persevered.” Says Honjiswa: “I don’t regret coming to FCD because I know I can help people – even in my community.”

Honjiswa started working as a carer at Klaradyn in December and the feedback from there has been nothing but positive. “Honjiswa’s work etiquette is excellent.”

According to trainer Elbeth Henning, Destiny looks after disadvantaged people in her community. “She takes them into her home to help them get over difficult times. She provides meals to people from her vegetable garden. She also inspired Natasha Janse who lives with her to do our course. Destiny brought extra food for another classmate and used to leave food on the bin outside for hungry people. She is a true inspiration to all of us!”
The nine-week Bake for Profit course equips learners to start their own baking business and every successful student receives 10 kg of flour from Snowflake to set them on their way to success. The Sunshine Award went to Catherine Johnson who not only followed her dream, but is also actively involved in ministry in Fisantekraal. After completion of the course, Catherine was planning to host a Xmas feast for 50 underprivileged children in Fisantekraal and another 50 in Bonnievale.
The Most Motivated Award went to Gail Johnson. Gail was unemployed and needed to earn an income to help her husband with their daily expenses. Although she loved baking for her family, she had never thought of selling her bakes until she saw a FCD pamphlet. “She pushed herself to reach her selling target every week, but soon realised tha if she wanted to pay herself a salary, she would have to push even harder,” says trainer Elaine duToit. “Gail just kept pushing herself and in her last week of the course her income was R1 400 – an amazing achievement!”
And to top off a very successful year, FCD also launched a brand new course called the Business Skills course. The course was piloted with a handful of students and at the end of the course Cornelia Wiegman Du Preez, Steven Jantjies and Rowena Snyders received their certificates. The Sunshine Award went to Rowena and the Most Motivated Award went to Cornelia.
Cornelia wowed as a Bake for Profit student where she stepped out of her comfort zone to sell her products on street corners if she had to to reach her targets. Her sales even exceeded those of Gail. She actively marketed her bakes on Facebook and kept business records in Excel. She was so motivated to make a success of her business that the moment she completed the BfP course she signed up for the Business Skills course.
“Cornelia is our DIY diva and she just continues to increase her weekly targets and advertising exposure,” says Cheryl. “We are so proud of her!”

In conclusion, Jane Gelderman, director of FCD, had this to say: “Once students have completed the Job Readiness course, they become part of the FCD family. We will always be there for them for support and guidance. I am so happy that we had to move our graduation ceremony to a bigger venue this time – it means that we are growing and touching the lives of more and more students. Today we honour your perseverance, courage and faithfulness to complete your courses.”

“However, we would not be able to do all of this without all of our volunteers trainers and our wonderful job shadow partners. There are too many to mention here, but you know who you are and we are forever grateful to each and every one of you for giving our students the amazing opportunity to see what happens in the real world for three or six days.
“Thank you to all of you for getting involved and making a difference!”