Student Success: Neliswa Stuurman

Miles and miles away from civilization is a very small town (Philippolis), with a small population of about 5000 people. There lives a young woman with dreams as big as the whole universe. Neliswa Stuurrman; a 20 year old young woman who started her studies at Philippolis Primary School and continued to Philippolis High School where she graduated in 2015, shares a little bit with us about the love she has for the small Karoo town she calls home.

This young woman has always known what she wanted to become, and she has dreams she believes will help her improve her ‘small pond’ of a town that was almost abandoned but calls her “home.”

“ I have always had this almost rumbling passion in my stomach for social work,” she says as she places her one fist against her abdomen to describe her passion. “Because my community is faced with a lot of social issues that need people to address,” said Neliswa as she cleared her throat and, almost secretly, wiped a little tear off of her face. “There is a very high rate of unemployment, very few empowered women, and way too little young people who wake up with a mission to better their living standards and our beloved little town.”

Neliswa’s current mission is to complete her Bridging Academy yearlong course at Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) Philippolis campus.

Neliswa wanted to go to university as she had graduated from high school with outstanding results. She confesses that she too was a victim of misinformation about the application process into tertiary education. I could tell how passionate she was about success when she told me that she also applied to the South African College of Tourism (SACT) where female students learn about tourism, culinary studies and housekeeping among many other hospitality activities.

“I have always believed that I am capable of more than doing drugs and dropping out of school,” said Neliswa. “It breaks my heart to see young people from my community wasting their lives away but that is not the life for me.”

I guess having the right support structure is key, because Neliswa tells me how much of a role model her mother has been to her. “My mother always gives the best advice and I am grateful to her because she is my light to the right path,” said Neliswa.

As we bid goodbye after our interesting chat, Neliswa promises to one day visit the Mpumalanga province where I come from, “to experience life from a different perspective with different people,” she said.

Stay true to yourself and believe in your dreams and bring them to life Neliswa!

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“I have always believed that I am capable of more than doing drugs and dropping out of school,” said Neliswa. “It breaks my heart to see young people from my community wasting their lives away but that is not the life for me.” 

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Neliswa’s current mission is to complete her Bridging Academy yearlong course at Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) Philippolis campus.

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“Where I am from will not determine who I am and the person I am going to become tomorrow because my dreams know better.” Neliswa Stuurman.

Written By Hazyview Media Intern: Mfumo Thobela

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