I was unemployed and staying at home at the time. I said to my daughter “I’m thinking of fixing up my CV and going to Margate to search for an NGO”. She just laughed and told me to follow my heart. I had worked for several NGOs before and knew that was my thing. Two weeks later, I read the newspaper and noticed an advert for a post at GCF. My cousin, who lives close to the organisation, had seen it too and called, saying that she thought it would be a suitable job for me. I applied and was called for not only one interview, but two.

On 10 March 2014, I was employed at the Family Strengthening Department and I’m still there.

I remember the first person I felt like I helped. I was still new and facilitated the Coping with Death and Trauma training in the community. I did not know it at the time, but one of the women in the group had severe sleeping problems and had not slept enough for 17 years. The training brought up things she needed to deal with, she opened up and cried and cried. Afterwards, she told me: “What you did helped me, now I have slept like a baby.” To me, this was an affirmation of the importance of this particular training and I learned how crying brings healing.

Another woman told me that her 6-year-old grandchild did not talk properly. It was time for the girl to start school, but she was concerned as the girl could not express herself. The grandmother had spoken to people around her for advice and been told that it probably would sort itself out with time, but it had not. I had a conversation with her and encouraged her to bring the girl to the local clinic for a check-up. The concerned grandmother did so and it was discovered that the little girl had pus in her ears and could not hear. It had affected her both internally and developmentally. I’m so glad she listened to me, so the child could get the help she needed.

Thulile Shozi

And, this is how it goes on. I know that God has given me a gift to help people, which I do through work, but also after hours. People often come to my house for advice and guidance. GCF has given me opportunities to attend trainings in Trauma Counselling. It has helped me to understand what people who struggle with mental health go through and it is easy for me to support them. I have got skills to be more alert and am more aware of people and their needs now. Trainings I have attended have prepared me to carry on working.

I want to continue to be hands-on in the community. In the end, throughout my work life, it has always been about families and making the lives of children better. 

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