Miselwa Nogqala, Catering events manager and Siyazenzela Facilitator of Wilderness Foundation Africa, recently received the exciting news that she was chosen on the AVP International Scholarship to attend the 2017 AVP World Gathering in Nepal, November 5-11 2017.
Miselwa first came to Wilderness Foundation Africa as an Umzi Wethu Student. She had to drop out of varsity due to financial constraints and was struggling to make ends meet.
“When I first heard about Umzi Wethu, I didn’t think I was going to make the selection as there were piles of applicants. When I heard that I was accepted, I was overjoyed. I remember, Pinky Kondlo, Support Services Director of WFA, telling us that you can use this programme as a stepping stone to be where you want in your life, and she was right.”
After the Umzi Wethu programme, Miselwa started working at Green Leaf Café, where she was later groomed in becoming supervisor. In 2011, Miselwa was appointed manager of Green Leaf Café.
“In the beginning, becoming manager of a café was very challenging for me as I did not have much experience and skills. I decided to study a course in Business Administration to help me. During my time at Green Leaf Café, a vision was being developed by WFA, to have the Umzi Wethu school located at the Tramways building. I was very interested in this vision, as I have always been passionate about changing lives.”
Since then, Miselwa has been working with us as the Green Leaf Catering events manager and Siyazenzela Facilitator. We are so proud of you Miselwa, and wish you all the best for your time in Nepal and future endeavours. We decided to do a quick interview with her to find out more about the AVP Scholarship.
How did you get involved in AVP?
“I will be forever grateful for Wilderness Foundation Africa, because if it wasn’t for them, I would never have been introduced to AVP and been given this opportunity of a lifetime to go to Nepal.
It all started at Umzi Wethu where we completed a basic AVP workshop as a compulsory module in the course. I really enjoyed this course and continued to partake in the other AVP workshops. AVP is focused on resolving conflict and learning important principles for example: thinking before you act.
I noticed that in my area there were a lot of problems amongst my community. People were involved in drug abuse and robbing. In 2013, I started giving talks to a small group of people in my area. Later on, the group grew and with the help of Wilderness Foundation Africa we organised a workshop at the Tramways venue. Since then I have been working on workshops targeted in areas where there are the most unemployed people living in the area and crime rate was the highest.”
How has AVP benefited you?
“AVP has changed me as a person. I used to struggle with temper issues but through the AVP programme I have learnt how to express and communicate my feelings better. It has especially helped me in my family life and I have learnt how break stigmas that we so often place on certain people.
What does the 2 week programme in Nepal entail?
“When we arrive in Nepal, we will attend, ‘The Gathering’, which is an induction session where all the participants meet each other and do presentations on what challenges each country has been facing and what we have been doing to resolve these issues.
We brainstorm a lot and collaborate with each other’s ideas in order to help each other with the different issues we face in different countries.
We will be touring Nepal as well as partaking in cultural days where we learn about each other’s cultures and there will be training for facilitation skills.”
What do you hope to achieve from the scholarship?
“In the Eastern Cape, there aren’t many programmes in the prison. My goal is to target the juvenile correctional services as I believe we need to work with young people. Changing the mind set of young people can be a powerful tool and that is why I really believe in educating the youth. I believe that if we can change the mind set of this generation and get the youth to break the barrier of the past, there will be more opportunity for change and growth in our country."
What do you love about your job at Wilderness Foundation Africa?
“I love my job because I love to touch people’s lives and change them. If ever I encounter any young person, I make sure they have a goal and encourage them to work towards achieving it.
Working with the team at Wilderness Foundation Africa has been amazing. It gives you the ability to spread your wings and fly. There are constantly people at WFA who are motivating you and listening to you. They embrace your vision and are willing to help you achieve it. If it wasn’t for the wonderful team at Wilderness Foundation Africa, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”