Entrepreneur knows the value of donating items to pupils in need

Vumile Magasela’s community outreach initiative is stepping in the right direction. | Supplied

Vumile Magasela’s community outreach initiative is stepping in the right direction. | Supplied

Published Jun 16, 2024


Durban — While most people use their birthdays to celebrate the gift of life, this week’s Unsung Hero has taken the unconventional route to celebrate the occasion by helping the needy.

While her birthday is on January 7, Vumile Magasela, 29, from Umlazi in Durban prefers to celebrate the milestone in February through the donations she makes to underprivileged pupils in her community.

She does this by collecting and distributing school shoes and sanitary towels to learners in need, an initiative she has been working on since 2021.

“It started with an idea that I had about celebrating my birthday. I hated the reality of children unable to attend school because they did not have shoes, or girls missing out on their education because they did not have sanitary pads.

“So, I decided to donate these items.”

In days when Magasela’s hair business was flourishing, she directed a percentage of the profits towards her initiative and it has grown from strength to strength, and has been able to make donations out annually.

“My growing-up years were not easy for me. Although my grandmother and my mother tried their utmost to ensure that we had everything we needed, still, it was not easy.

“A teacher paid for my school fees at some point. That gesture motivated me to help wherever I could when life became a bit more favourable to me,” said Magasela.

Vumile Magasela’s community outreach initiative is stepping in the right direction. l SUPPLIED

To make her initiative work, Magaselas saves the income she earned for a period of six months.

She also relies on donations from the public, for which she said she was “very grateful”.

Magasela identifies recipients for the items by visiting schools herself, with some of the beneficiaries being children from her community.

The major challenge she has to contend with is the number of pupils in need, exceeding the number of available items.

“I become disheartened when I‘m unable to help everyone, which is due to not having the required financial muscle. However, in the same breath, the little that I do is able to make a huge difference in someone’s life, so that counts for something,” said Magasela.

She said she wished to do more through her initiative, which included providing food for children yet to be named.

Magasela described her childhood as one filled with warmth and love.

She was raised in a household of five people.

She matriculated at Comtech High School in 2013 and pursued a qualification in television and screen media production, which she could not complete due to a lack of funds.

Magasela, a mother of a nine-year-old boy, currently runs multiple businesses, consisting of a haircare brand, a catering company, and the sale of her own brand of spices.

In addition to making money, she was also motivated to improve and become a better person daily.

“I always want do better than yesterday.”

Sunday Tribune