The 2019/2020 Nedbank YES Project Beneficiary Story

They say that “Life is about making an impact, not making an income,” and at ORT SA, we strive to live by those words by letting our actions do the talking. In this article, we examine how the 2019 Nedbank YES Project impacted Mphumeleli Ndlovu to become a man with a purpose.

What activities were you involved in during the Nedbank YES ORT  program?

“We worked with a primary school in Soweto called Megatong, and we first had come in as interns, but then as time grew, we had worked to a point where we had a good relationship with the principal there. We were doing a bit of everything at some point, like we knew how to work in admin, accounts, helping kids with curriculum and being involved in the procurement part of getting textbooks.”

What did you learn the most when you were at the school?

“I learnt more than anything that my current situation shouldn’t limit me because I had gone in there without completing any post-high school qualification. However, I was still in a position where I was helping the principal make essential decisions for the school, liaising with other principals and running the school principal’s errands. So I learnt how to run a school and to be a leader.”

 Were there any challenges that you had faced during the program?

“In the beginning, yes, because the principal didn’t know us, including the staff, so with me being more of an ideas man, I don’t like to follow broken processes, I want to come in, and if I see that this is archaic, it terms of how it’s being done I speak up. However, what I recommended for the school was rejected by staff members, so that was the biggest challenge. But then, as time grew, they started to understand us as we understood them, and then it became easier to work. So I think it was a generational gap more than anything that was the biggest hindrance. After we worked through that, it was smooth sailing.”

How was your overall experience with the programme?

“Firstly, I’m very grateful; it was life-changing. I made connections with people that I would have never met. Akhona, for example, still helps me where he can. Secondly, the courage to speak up and speak for change and see it being affected. Those are like the highlights for me.”

How has the Nedbank YES ORT  Project impacted you?

“The Nedbank project entailed learning about the background efforts of managing and running a school. It was extensive but very fulfilling as I developed skills which I use till this day. I currently work in the customer service department at Bolt. In my spare time, I am carefully building my new venture called Collective Effort. Collective Effort has the sole purpose of uniting, building and supporting new brands and entrepreneurs with different ideas and ventures. Collectively, a member will be able to network with other entrepreneurs, receive guidance from our team, and have their products made by us to take the load off of their hands and allow them to focus on other aspects of their own brand/company. I strongly believe in the success rate of this new venture, and it is all thanks to the combined skills I have acquired from the Nedbank project and my previous ventures.”

Now that the programme ended, who is Mphumeleli Ndlovu now?

“I feel like I’ve found my alpha form. I’ve found my purpose to build businesses and change lives, and  I would have never seen it without the program.”

It is evident that Mphumeleli not only found the means to make a living but became an entrepreneur as his purpose. The Nedbank YES ORT Project has made an impact aligned to ORT SA’s vision of ‘educating for life’ and mission of ‘creating employment opportunities. Thank you to Mphumeleli for sharing his experience with us, and we wish him all the best in his career.