It may have taken her more than a decade, but Bergzicht Training alumnus, Nadia Andries (34), has finally found her calling and it happens to be a job that has helped her start her own business too.
Before Nadia completed Bergzicht Training’s Edu Care Programme, she had been employed as a sales assistant at Shoprite, Pep and the Suit Hiring company in Strand and Eerste River. She had also worked in a butchery. However, in 2017 she decided to quit her job at the Suit Hiring company because of career stagnation.
“You can’t really work towards a higher position there and I felt I had so many other talents that I wanted to develop,” she explains.
In 2018, Nadia started the Edu Care Programme. As a single mom to Joshua (14) and Keisha (10), it was a tough decision to make.
“They were brave and strong and they understood my decision, but I know how some kids can be out there, they tease each other about their circumstances, but still those two were very strong throughout it.”
Nadia also had the support of her family during this time and helped out in the home by cleaning the house and cooking food.
“It was tough, but I had a lot of support from my family and I also had people in my class, who when they noticed I was not in class, would realise that I had no travel money and help me out. My children and I never went to sleep without food during that time.”
Soon after completing the programme earlier this year, she began looking for employment at creches, day care and aftercare establishments. However, even with her newly-learnt skills she was unable to find work. South Africa has one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates which is currently at 38.8%.
“I decided to pray about it, because there was nothing else I could do. I isolated myself and prayed and asked God for an answer,” says Nadia, who has relied on her faith during the most trying times in her life.
“I wanted Him to show me what I was good at.”
It was during this time that her involvement at her church revealed her talent to her.
“I always used to stay behind at church to help with the cleaning after tea and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have to be asked to do it, I just did it because I loved it. I always used to wonder, why can’t I be good at an important job like a doctor or a teacher, but God had another plan for me. He showed me that whatever you are good at and love to do, that is your gift and it doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning or making clothes.”
A few days later, Nadia went to the local internet café to create some flyers to advertise Nadia’s Cleaning Service. She had no money to have her flyer designed, so she made her own one. Later that day, Woolworths and other companies started contacting her to offer her a job. She had sent her CV to these businesses not too long ago.
“God was testing me. He wanted to see how much I wanted to do this,” says Nadia.
She held onto her faith, she adds, knowing that the clients would come. A few days later she had her first client.
“The client was very happy and I will now clean her house every Wednesday.”
Nadia’s visits to the internet café had not gone unnoticed either. An assistant at the café offered to help her create a new flyer and to take photos that she could use on the flyer, all for free.
“I am not where I want to be and I know there is still hard work lying ahead for me, but God is the foundation of my business. I believe that I am doing this ‘not by might, not by power, but by the spirit of God’.”
“My children are very excited about this. They were deprived of a lot of things while I was studying and while I was unemployed. Joshua was not able to get new shoes, while Keshia could not get new clothes. My sister brought donated clothes home from her workplace and this is how I was able to give Keshia clothes to wear back then.”
While she may not be working in the Educare industry, Nadia has taken the skills she learnt at Bergzicht Training and has used it to help her in other ways in her life and business. Old, torn clothes are repurposed and stitched into new creations, allowing her to always have a wardrobe of different items to wear. She even created aprons for her business and hand sewed the business name on the aprons when she was unable to afford to print the name on the aprons.
Nadia is however not done yet with her journey of self-development. She is currently attending evening classes to complete her matric.
“I want to encourage young people, especially those who are home, who are hanging out on the street corners and are feeling hopeless, I want to encourage them to go to places like Bergzicht Training and to stay open to new opportunities. The teachers at Bergzicht Training gave me hope again and made me feel like I could do anything. However, nobody can change you. You have to do it for yourself. You have to have the confidence to believe in yourself.”