Many motorists who pass Monica Vuka as she sells The Big Issue on Buitengracht Street in Cape Town might mistake her for someone who is down on her luck. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Monica, a mother of four, has sold the magazine since 2004 and is on her way up in life. Her student status from the College of Cape Town is proof of her new ticket to success.
Monica successfully applied to study Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the College of Cape Town last year, even though her 2014 application was declined due to a lack of relevant work experience.
“Nicky Asher-Pedro, the social worker at The Big Issue, helped me to secure a job at Sugar and Spice Nursery in Cape Town, which enabled me to gain the valuable experience I needed to be accepted at the College of Cape Town. The rest is history.
“I started attending classes this January. The course runs for 18 months and I attend classes on Fridays. On Mondays to Thursdays from 8am to 1pm, I’m working at Kay-Dee Educare Centre in Mowbray, and then I make my way to my pitch in town.”
Monica is grateful for the opportunity to study and says her training is enhancing her life on a personal level.
“Working with children brings me so much joy. They are learning independence and languages and I get to be part of their journey, and that fulfils me. Through this course, I’m also getting to understand my own children, although they are much older than those at Kay-Dee Educare,” she shares.
Juggling her roles as a wife, mother, entrepreneur and student, she is thankful to everyone supporting her dreams:
“My customers are supportive and proud of me, they always encourage me to not give up. At The Big Issue, we are always encouraged to look at the bigger picture and see ourselves beyond the magazine. And as for my husband, he is overjoyed by the path I chose and always says that I am a good role model for our kids,” she concludes.