Words: Lungisa Mnqwazi
While many of her peers were content with their level of education, she dedicated her life to getting her ECD qualification, proving that you are never too old to learn.
Monica used to sell the magazine at the Hans Strijdom and Buitengracht intersection in Cape Town; the humble entrepreneur had to juggle many duties, including being a vendor, wife and mother while studying.
“It was not easy; at times I had to study when everyone was sleeping. Remember, you can’t study properly due to the noise levels in the township and the disturbance from kids,”
Over the years, Monica has developed an ability to rise above her circumstances. Apart from being a mother to her four children, she is now also ready to extend her love to preschoolers in her community.
She is making it her business to nurture the next generation during their critical foundation phase, and has opened an ECD centre in Khayelitsha.
“I saw an available space in a nearby informal settlement and spoke to the community leaders to build my own crèche, as I have noticed that there are no preschools nearby. I grabbed this opportunity to make my dream come true,” – says Monica.
“I built the crèche from the money I saved from selling The Big Issue magazine. Although it’s not complete, I have started to buy toys so that when I connect with those who are willing to help, they can meet me halfway.”
From humble beginnings, the ever- bubbly preschool principal encourages others to follow their dreams. “It was not all smooth sailing and I had many sleepless nights, but I am hoping to use this achievement to empower other colleagues, women, students and the broader community. I hated going to preschool when I was kid. I didn’t see the need, nor the value of education back then. Little did I know that preschool is a solid foundation for adulthood,” she says.
Monica also expresses her immense gratitude to The Big Issue organisation and staff. “The Big Issue team has helped me a lot in making my dreams a reality.
I got to know about the course through them, and they secured a bursary for me. I want to continue studying until I obtain my NQF Level 4 in Early Childhood Development,” adds Monica.
If you would like to assist her, contact The Big Issue office on 021 461 6690 or email info@ bigissue.org.za.