Mogomotsi Motsielwa

Director of planning and monitoring: Phokeng in Education

Mogomotsi Motsielwa, a qualified animal scientist, is director of planning and monitoring at Phokeng in Education (PhiE), a centre based in Rustenburg, in North West province. The centre provides skills and IT training for deaf and blind people in the area, enabling them to acquire the appropriate technical ability to be self-sufficient and take part in the mainstream economy. The 29-year-old joined the organisation in 2008 as a part-time consultant and was employed permanently the following year. One of his main tasks is to ensure the centre is adequately resourced and has a clear operational plan to enable it to accomplish its mission. Among his priorities is to align the organisation's programmes with the national qualifications framework and the relevant education training and accreditation bodies as well as to find suitably qualified Braille and sign- language teachers. His interest in working with the disabled originated within his family, which has always been involved in projects aimed at disabled communities. It was a family tradition I could not detract from,� he says. One of the biggest challenges he faces is addressing the negative perceptions and stigmatisation of disabled people, which he does through an active community outreach initiative. The centre's successful programmes attract record numbers of applicants, making funding another challenge he must address. This year the Royal Bafokeng Institute stepped in and is sponsoring training for 51 of the 110 students. Knocking at various companies' doors is by no means an enviable task, but it is one Motsielwa has embraced gracefully because he knows that doing so may ensure that the dreams and aspirations of many disabled people can be fulfilled in an environment in which many still treat them with disdain. � Thabo Mohlala

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