She is changing the world. Her name is Ronwyn Lawson
Durban - Growing up as a little girl in a poor family in Greenwood Park, north of Durban, Ronwyn Lawson was always fascinated with numbers.
And while many around her dropped out of high school to find work, Lawson knew that getting an education was a sure way to climb out of poverty.
So when she matriculated at Parkhill Secondary in 1987 she was the first in her family to do so. She went on to study teaching at the then Bechet College and soon after went to teach at an impoverished township school – where she taught Mathematics and Accounting. While teaching she completed her Bachelor of Education, Honours at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
She would later join a top private school in Durban where she taught her passion, Mathematics.
“But I had this nagging feeling that I should be doing more and could be doing more to empower people, especially young girls in Maths and Accounting. I could have easily been a statistic, fallen out of school, got a job and accepted that. So when I look at young people who have not reached their full potential, I want to do something about it,” she said.
Now, Lawson is taking up the position of principal at a higher education institution in Durban, Golden Ratio College. The college which specialises in accredited retail courses has taken the initiative this women’s month to identify and train 10 women-owned and emerging retail street vendors in 2019. With her strong maths and science passion Lawson hopes to mentor these entrepreneurs through the college’s entrepreneurial school.
“Most street traders have not completed matric or have any formal education but they are inherently entrepreneurs. If I can, through a certified course, get them to look at their world differently hopefully that could improve their business and their family lives,” she said.
Some of the courses, she plans on running for the street traders, are general merchandising, how to interact with customers, basic business calculations and how to manage and control stock.
“I’ve always believed that education is the one tool that people can use to drag themselves out of poverty and improve their lives. The wholesale and retail sector provides great opportunities for small and emerging women run business. If each one of us in society can pay it forward to a person less fortunate than ourselves then the world will be a better place,” Lawson said.