A Westridge community worker is on a mission to help underprivileged matriculants attend their matric balls and further their education.
Yolanda Langisa, 36 from Westridge, founder of Garden of Dream (G.O.D) Projects Pty (Ltd) and registered non-profit organisation, was inspired through her own struggles of nearly not making it to the end of her school career. Her G.O.D. Project Matric Ball started in July this year.
“I failed Grade 11 after having to go work and do school. When I went back, we didn’t have funds to attend my matric ball. I was able to pay my tuition fees for the first month of my tertiary studies and applied for a bursary when I was 27 to study further. I found solace and inspiration from my community, who encouraged me to strive for better despite the difficulties,” she said.
“I wanted to grant students in need of this opportunity to experience the joy and celebration that I’ve missed out on. As a result of this personal experience, Project Matric Ball was inspired,” she said.
She reached out to other organisations, companies, and small businesses within Mitchell’s Plain to create this initiative that would provide support to those completing their matric, she said.
Ms Langisa came across a Facebook platform and noticed the need for assistance, however, people were exploiting the help by asking for things like a watch to match a suit or overpriced food.
“Unfortunately, boys’ items weren’t easy to obtain, so I stuck with small businesses in and around Mitchell’s Plain who were more than willing to help,” she said.
The goal of the project is to inspire pupils, encouraging them to complete their matric and offering them the opportunity to have a memorable matric ball night, she said.
The initiative provides support by offering essentials such as dresses, nails, hairstyling, and funds to those who may not have the means to afford these experiences on their own.
Ms Langisa has helped over 10 girls with what they needed.
Kauthar Jeppe, 17, from Portland, said she couldn’t afford her matric ball. Her aunt reached out to the G.O.D project and they made it possible.
The Portland High School pupil attended her matric ball at Barren’s Estate and Caterers. “She made my dream come true. I couldn’t believe that I’m actually having a matric ball. It felt so unreal. I appreciate her and everyone that helped through this journey and that made my dream come true,” she said.
G.O.D. projects should continue making girls’ dreams come true and continue with their great work, she said.
Kauthar’s aunt, Naeema Galant said: “We cannot explain our gratitude towards Yolanda for all her hard work and all she has done for us, she’s an amazing woman with a huge heart and for that we are extremely grateful.”
Kiara Barns, 17, from Westridge, said she felt blessed and very emotional “as my family and I were stressed about how we were going to afford all these things regarding the matric ball and the G.O.D really helped me and they made my day extra special. I hope they get to help other matriculants just like me.”
Jaydine du Plessis, 18, from Westridge, said she is grateful for the help as they went out of their way to make her look beautiful. “This project should continue with their helpfulness, may they grow stronger and be the best in the future.”
“Thank you to the community for helping make this a success. Thank you to NK Nails, Hair Code, Bonitas Salon, and seamstress, Lameez Solomons. Without them, this project wouldn’t have been possible. A community is not built by one but by many. Through this, I am hoping for a positive outcome in our youth, encouraging them to go beyond their matric grade and do more,” said Langisa.
For more information contact Ms Langisa on 0826419259 or follow their Facebook page, Garden of Dream Projects.