Old Mutual staff volunteerism programme is changing communities for the better

NOVEMBER 22, 2016

Misiwe Ntshangase was one of eight children growing up in the small town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape. Her childhood was a plight of poverty and drawbacks as her father had a difficult time supporting his family on a basic salary. The children wore weathered shoes which they later learnt to sew up by themselves to avoid being barefoot daily.

Being raised under these circumstances had a unique effect on Misiwe’s life. It inspired her to want to make a difference. To help those who are in the same situation as she was, and to assist in bettering their lives and providing them with opportunities to grow their skills. When asked about her drive for change, “I told myself that when I grew up, I don’t want to see kids who had to struggle like we did. I want to help them”, says Misiwe.

Restoration and Empowerment of Africa by Love (REAL) Village is a national - non-profit community organisation which has initiatives across the country. Misiwe is fully committed to the project in the Western Cape where the organisation has put in place different programmes to assist in specialised areas of REAL.

Misiwe has been an Old Mutual employee for 12 years and lives by the notion that we as people, as Africans, have a responsibility to service those who are less fortunate. The concept of Ubuntu - “I am who I am because of who we all are” and her faith, are two foundations that she credits for all that she has managed to achieve in her life. 

Her drive in life to succeed started at Old Mutual 12 years ago, where she was appointed as a financial advisor and then was promoted to sales manager within three years.  As she furthered her business studies while working, Misiwe grew her skills in business and people management and gradually moved into the position of senior business manager where she currently works. Having held this position for the past 6 years, her focus and determination kept paying off. 

Through winning the Staff Volunteerism ‘Care and Share’ Team Award, and receiving a worthy capital injection of R20 000.00, the REAL Village in the Western Cape and Misiwe were given the wonderful opportunity to head up some of their highest ranking projects. The first being to create a collective office space for the projects and operations. As the team is small and very hands-on, it is essential that a focused space would provide them with a better platform to maximise the impact that they could make. Part of this REAL bigger picture is to build an office in each region to increase national impact. 

Another project that Misiwe would like to get off the ground is an afterschool homework centre in the township of Kiwane, situated just outside Port Elizabeth where she currently lives. The need to create a communal space where children of the community are exposed to extra care and education is a vital for these communities.  The substantial donation that was received will assist towards obtaining desks, books, stationary and assistants to hold the space in the afternoon.

Misiwe and the REAL Village are greatly appreciative of the opportunity and support that Old Mutual has given to their project, and believe that such an initiative can change the lives of the children, their families, and the entire community.