Durban - Long nights of burning the midnight oil culminated in both mother and daughter, Irene and Danielle Vallihu, walking down the red carpet at their graduation ceremony.
Danielle, 22, graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management in 2021 and Irene, 51, graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Business Management in 2020 and a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Marketing Management in 2021 from private higher education institution, Mancosa.
Describing her mother as a “selfless woman who remains strong on both her good and bad days”, Danielle said her mother was her daily inspiration.
Danielle said she was on medication for the first two years of her life because she was having difficulty breathing. She gained a lot of weight over the years and lost her confidence, which resulted in low self-esteem in high school.
"When I turned 18, I regained my confidence by going to the gym and getting a personal trainer. Eventually, I lost weight and I have never looked back since. My message of support for aspiring youth is to believe in yourself – the world is your oyster. Figure out what your passion and goals are before you embark on tertiary education. Worry about your own journey, set time-lines and block out any negative talk," Danielle said.
She added that studying with her mother was beneficial, as she would provide guidance on how to answer questions on a project.
"My mother and I would help each other better understand difficult aspects in subjects like accounting and economics," she added.
She hopes to look for work while she continues to further her studies. Danielle is also looking forward to investing in property.
Irene’s parents may not have taught her how to read and write, but they placed emphasis on her education and taught her the value of a formal education.
Being recently promoted as Sales and Business Executive at the Durban ICC shows nothing is impossible for Irene.
"I chose Mancosa due to their positive reputation, accreditation, and flexible distance learning model. Covid-19 has been most challenging which disrupted lives and businesses. If anything at all, Covid-19 has taught me to be resilient and to keep moving forward," Irene said.
She added that success is not about greatness. It is about faith, hard work, dedication, integrity and consistency – greatness follows.
"My advice to aspiring youth is to remain focussed on the goal and keep taking the next step towards completing it. Always remain humble, be true to yourself and the people you serve," she said.
Her recipe for success is to learn, unlearn and relearn.
"People learn every day; so, unlearn bad habits and relearn good habits. Integrity, hard work, perseverance and resilience are the stepping-stones to success," Irene said.