Lulu Nongogo, a university graduate, left a cushy job in the corporate world and established Lulwazi Lwethu, a non-profit organisation that empowers and develops disadvantaged youth.
After pursuing two tertiary qualifications from the University of Western Cape and Varsity College, Lulu Nongogo realised that her calling lay in empowering and developing the disadvantaged youth.

Her organisation has secured jobs for about 2000 youths in Cape Town.

In June 2015, Nongogo established a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation, Lulwazi Lwethu, which supports youth in getting employment and also provides an accredited course called Corporate Readiness.

The motivation to pioneer such an organisation stemmed from her disadvantaged community in Gugulethu township and its despondent youth.

“I witnessed the youth roaming the streets, with no direction in their lives and some of them belonged to gangs.”

Her organisation has partnered with other stakeholders who assist participants in their specific career paths.

Nongogo recruited a number of unemployed students who had knowledge and background in artisanship and approached merSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) to offer training to promising students. She also reached out to Nedbank for assistance in funding the project.

“The thought of helping the students excited me because they were eager to hone their skills and give back to their communities one day. To me, helping a student means that I am helping an entire family, which genuinely brings me joy.”

Nongogo was excited to learn that the students went on to secure full-time employment after their training.

“Some of the students that were trained with Nedbank's funding are employed by Transnet and others helped in building the Botswana railways."

Prior to founding the organisation, Nongogo worked in the corporate space and it was when she was retrenched in 2008 and later head-hunted by another company that she realised her passion lay in making a difference in young people's lives.

“I do not imagine myself working for someone else in the future. I decided to establish Lulwazi Lwethu that focuses on the youth instead of working for the company that had called me. I am grateful to one of my stakeholders, National Lotteries Commission, for believing in my initiative thus far.”

Travelling is one of many ways she uses when recruiting the youth. While in North West last year, she visited two impoverished high schools that specialised in Maths and Science and that is when she made the decision to recruit 45 students for another programme.

“I want to help fund the education of future pilots and engineers from black and rural areas. That is also when I began my relationship with Armscor and the students are currently on a three-month programme.”

One of Lulwazi Lwethu’s goals is to reach other parts of the continent, especially the rural areas, as she says that is where the youth with the most talent are found.

“I really wish that I could help the entire youth of the country, but with limited funding from stakeholders I am forced to restrict my intake. I am humbled to announce that about 2000 young people are employed in Cape Town through my organisation.”