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How feeling powerless fueled one woman's dreams

The MiHeart Project is MiWay's corporate social investment programme focused on education. The investment is a combination of a mentorship programme (Leaders in the Making), counselling, tutoring, and a bursary fund offered to learners from the two schools MiWay partners with in Tembisa and Soweto. Over the next three months, we'll be sharing the experiences of Yolanda Mussana, a former mentee from Maphuta High School in Tembisa, and a current bursary holder, in her final year of university.
How feeling powerless fueled one woman's dreams

Yolanda is a woman on a mission. She has always dreamed of building a professional career as an entrepreneur, and with the boundless energy and a variety of passions that come with youth, she is determined to pursue as many career and professional growth opportunities in the next few years.

In her own words:

In the community that I grew up in alcohol abuse was common. As a result, domestic abuse was rife, and I had firsthand experience of this in my own family.

I remember feeling powerless in those moments. However, looking back, those moments strengthened my resolve to have control over my own life. During those times, I kept telling myself that I can do anything and be anyone I wanted to be – nothing was, and nothing is beyond my reach.

We moved to Gauteng where I attended Maphuta High School in Tembisa. In Grade 11, I was one of the Top 10 learners, and the principal encouraged us to join the MiWay Leaders in the Making Mentorship Programme. I’m so glad that I did. I took a chance and submitted an essay stating why I deserved to be part of the programme. Imagine how happy (and surprised) I was to be selected.

The MiHeart Project recognises learners like me, with a 65%+ pass mark, and I can tell you, the mentorship really helped me to push myself harder. The programme helped build my self-confidence and self-esteem. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s really hard to apply yourself to your schoolwork. Having a scholarship is one thing, but you need confidence to know that you will succeed. Just being part of the Leaders in the Making Programme was already a big win for me.

Knowing that you’re a beneficiary of a programme means that the pressure is on and you have to perform. I saw this as good pressure and a good motivator.

After I matriculated, I qualified for a MiHeart Project bursary by obtaining a mark of 65% and being accepted by an accredited institution. I am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree at Eduvos, a private university in Midrand. The MiHeart Project bursary covers all my educational expenses, including a laptop, data, tuition fees and books.

The lockdown prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything for everyone at university, including me. The shift to online learning was challenging at first because I found it hard to study on my own. Like many of my friends, I didn’t have a separate quiet place to study at home. I had to learn self-discipline to manage my time and focus on my work, no matter what was going on around me.

Not having access to sufficient data was a big challenge and so was accessing specific hardware I needed for coding and robotics. In both cases, MiWay gave me the assistance I needed. It makes such a big difference when companies care about the individual needs of the students they support. For me, it means I’m not ‘just a number’, I’m a person facing real challenges in pursuing my dreams.

I was also thrilled that Eduvos provided online tutoring support and counselling to the students while in lockdown.

Right now, I’m thankful that we’re back on campus. Interacting with fellow students is a much richer experience, and you can learn so much more. And, of course, my social life is so much better too!

When I graduate at the end of next year, I’ll be heading straight into the job market – there is so much that I want to do and achieve. I’m confident that I will succeed because my special interests – robotics, and software development – are currently in high demand. From a software development point of view, apps are number one – there’s literally an app for everything – and a few things you might not even have thought about. Robotics is going to play a massive role in the future, as we see machines and algorithms gradually take over jobs that need to be done with precision and accuracy.

I believe with all my heart that the sky is the limit!

Don’t miss Yolanda’s next feature where she shares her experience of managing stress and anxiety as a student.

MiWay is a licensed non-life insurer and Financial Services Provider (FSP 33970).

22 Apr 2022 12:38