SPECIAL AWARDS IN HONOUR OF TWO SPECIAL WOMEN
This year, we honour two special women who are very close to the heart of GWF staff and extended family. Maria Awogu and Leanna Knopik epitomise the heart and spirit of GWF. Read all about their legacy below.
The All Heart Fund Award
Every year we give out one special award to a graduate or even a GWF staff member. This award is called the All Heart Award, and it’s honour of Leanna Knopik.
Leanna’s time on Earth was brief. At the age of 16, she passed away suddenly after contracting a rare heart infection. Despite her lost battle, she fought exceptionally hard during her final days, surprising even her physicians.
Leanna’s heart always guided her path in life. She was very passionate about her faith and loved helping others throughout her community and beyond. A family trip to South Africa was a life-changing experience for her. She felt a sincere connection to the South African people and wanted to work as a missionary, helping children in schools and orphanages.
Leanna’s loving friends and family often remember her as “all heart.”
That’s what this award is all about… identifying a graduate who is “all heart”. This year the award was given to Saldah Ndubane, a Bridging Year Academy student from the Lillydale Digital Learning Campus.
Here’s what the team had to share about Saldah:
Saldah Ndubane is a mature young person. From the first time she laid her foot at Good Work Foundation she demonstrated kindness, respect, humility, confidence and an approachable personality. Due to her humility and generosity it didn’t take her long to build relationships with the Facilitators and fellow students. Saldah is good listener and is supportive of everyone.
Her openness and good heart allowed her to share her story with Facilitators and students. Her story is about conviction, perseverance, positivity and not losing hope in any circumstance you come across in life. Everyone was inspired and motivated. She didn’t spend a fortune in order to be kind or to demonstrate generosity. She shared her story that touched others and allowed them to decide their future. This is something that money could not buy.
You could always see her from a distance assisting classmates, supporting them, and they, in turn, listening to her.
Above all challenges Saldah believes in herself and continues to be an ambassador by showing support, a big smile and building relationships. Because of this, her classmates and Facilitators call her “Mani Saldah” (Mother Saldah)
Congratulations to Saldah!
To read more about the All Heart Fund and Leanna’s legacy, click here.
The Empowering Woman Award in honour of Maria Awogu
This new award is in honour of our dear friend and colleague, Maria Awogu. Maria served on GWF’s Executive Committee as our Head of Programmes & Campus Operations for over three years. From the day she joined our GWF family, Maria was a force of nature, bringing with her a unique blend of determination, focus, kindness and love. Her dedication to the betterment of our organisation, communities, team and students was incredible. No doubt our past students will remember Maria for her fiercely passionate speeches, reminding us to live every moment and seize the day. Maria did exactly that.
This award is for a woman who has really stood out above the rest and embodies the characteristics of our Maria: courage, joy, humour, hard work, intelligence, and above all, love. And a woman who empowers others through her words and actions.
This first and very special Empowering Woman Award was given to Polite Sithole, a Bridging Year Academy student from the Dumphries Digital Learning Campus. Here is what the team said about Polite:
Polite Sithole is a 38 year old woman originally from Zimbabwe. She has a good heart and is a very dedicated woman.
She had to walk every day for more than 4 km to come to GWF, but she never gave up and never missed a day of class, not even once. In class, she was the oldest student and has an accent which sometimes other students teased her about, but she never responded in a bad way. She is very respectful and humble. She accommodates and respects everyone, young or old.
She struggled at first but always asked for help and was never discouraged. Instead she came to the campus to practice daily and put in extra hours. She was always willing to help others. Whenever Facilitators needed a volunteer to do something she was always ready to help and she loved a challenge.
She used to encourage the other students to perform at their best and also if they misbehaved, she would remind them of what they are here for. Our Dumphries Campus BYA coordinator, Lydia, once spoke about how Polite made her feel so warmly welcomed when she started in her new role at DDLC.
This a woman who is empowering herself but also continues to empower others.
Maria will always be an honorary member of the pink GWF family and we will continue to walk on our path inspired by her conviction to do good always. We miss Maria deeply and will keep her in our hearts always. Thank you to Maria for your continued legacy of inspiring and empowering young women (and men).
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