The Ithemba Trust, a women’s empowerment body, together with Bureau Veritas Southern Africa, the global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, celebrated their inaugural inspirational International Women’s Day at Ntsikana Primary School in Daveyton, Gauteng. The Trust was launched in June 2018 and has to date been involved in several projects benefiting girls and young women in South Africa.
Ithemba Trust chairperson Ms Yvonne Busisiwe Kgame
The Ithemba Trust chairperson, Ms Yvonne Busisiwe Kgame, a passionate leader with a 30-year career in education and television underpinned by a powerful desire to serve and make a difference, used her renowned and much-loved story-telling style to address some 30 educators at the school. Embodying the ethos of International Women’s Day to encourage action and change, Kgame acknowledged women’s achievements throughout history and across nations to motivate and encourage those taking care of the education of our next generation, future leaders and gamechangers. She said: ‘As teachers you need to teach with purpose. Passion and purpose lead to greatness. Be a bold teacher and empower your students to become great.’
Learners and educators alike were inspired and encouraged to achieve their maximum potential and create legacies for generations to come. Sisanda Mamanzi, an employee of Bureau Veritas and former learner at the school, also addressed the educators after which they sang together with Kgame and the learners. In acknowledgement of this auspicious occasion, the Ithemba Trust provided surprise gifts for attendees before everyone enjoyed networking and light refreshments. Before closing the event, the Principal thanked Mam Yvonne, as she is fondly known and shared the value of positive and empowering inspirational words shared through the age-old tried and tested method of storytelling.
Aligned to the Bureau Veritas Southern Africa’s strong social awareness ethos, the Trust focuses on empowering females from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with a focus on education of young Black Women in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. After graduation, the company will absorb the young ladies into the business and upskill them with soft skills on work readiness. Enterprise development assistance will be provided to those that wish to launch their own businesses and work will be subcontracted to them to ensure they can sustain their businesses and achieve success. The Trust will focus on beneficiaries hailing from areas in which BVSA employees live and work. To date the trust has provided two full bursaries for students Keletso Moekona and Sanelisiwe Mabaso to study a BEng Mining at the University of Johannesburg and BSC Biological Sciences at Wits University respectively.
The independent Trustees include Messrs Yvonne Busisiwe Kgame and Zwelakhe Onwell Msomi, long-standing members of the South African business communities and highly respected and passionate about education and the transformation of women. The Trustees have enjoyed leadership roles in local and international corporates and the education sector; bringing a powerful combined experience set to the Trust. They have also been heavily involved in non-profit organizations and charities on both local and global scales. Ms Sal Govender, vice president of Bureau Veritas Southern Africa is also a Trustee.
Commenting at the celebration, District HR manager: Southern Africa, Ms Beatrice Scharneck said: ‘Bureau Veritas South Africa is committed to making a difference in the lives of others through the Ithemba Trust. It is our goal and ambition to create empowered and well-schooled females within the STEM disciplines through education and enterprise development. We are passionate about creating legacies and ultimately building a nation. We are poised to improve the lives of women; the backbone of society.’