May 23, 2012


As the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award enters its judging phase, the winners of 2011 tell of how they are utilizing the prize money received from the Shoprite Group of Companies, to enhance their work and build a better future for the people of South Africa.

Dr Brigalia Bam the Lifetime Achiever in the 2011 Award is using the R100 000 she received to resurrect a pre-primary school that was started by her mother, Mrs Temperance Mazwi Bam, in their home village of Goqwana where the entire community helped to build the village’s first school many years ago with mud and branches.

The building eventually collapsed as a result of the rains but the community rallied together with parents each contributing R50 towards rebuilding the school. They also applied for a grant from the Kgagisa Trust to erect another building and to Oxfam to help with food and education.

The Shoprite/Checkers Women of the Year Award came as unexpected and unsolicited gift to this community and brought so much joy.

The pre-school has been repaired and is in full use again. They have enrolled this year 32 learners and the Grade R’s and Grade 1 pupils are back to the school and do not have to walk long distances to the nearest school. The greatest need now is food and equipment.

Dr Elmi Muller, a pioneer in the medical field, who with her transplant team, were the first in the world to transplant a kidney from a HIV-positive donor to a HIV-positive recipient will use the R100 000 she received from the Award to help HIV positive patients in need of a kidney transplant to get access to the procedure.

She is setting up a foundation to fund outreach work to different communities in the country informing them about the possibilities of a kidney transplant. It will also support patients to participate as they come from all over South Africa and transportation and accommodation are mostly unaffordable.

Dr Nobulembu Mwanda, a medical doctor and pioneer in the field of prevention and holistic management of child abuse, a deep-rooted problem that is under reported in South African society will use the R100 000 she received from the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award to establish an outdoor exercise and skateboard park for the youth of Soweto to create an attractive space for them and educate them with life skills.

The project will be based in the Protea Boulevard where her organisation COPESSA has developed a park to cater for the children in the area. It provides a place where children can play under supervision after school

Ms Rosalia Mashale, the founder of the Baphumelele Education Centre and Children’s Home in Khayelitsha one of South Africa’s most marginalised and poverty-stricken township in South Africa.

She cares for hundreds of abandoned and orphaned children from infants to 18-year-olds and takes care of teenagers infected with HIV/Aids and will use the R100 000 she received to employ extra care-givers. Furthermore she would fund school fees and uniforms and stationary as well as educational tours.

Some funds have already been used to buy medical equipment for the newly opened Pediatric Respite Centre.

Ms Shona McDonald who has built a business from her garage to one that impacts the lives of over 65000 children with mobility disabilities living in South Africa. Her enterprise has received numerous national and international awards for the social impact it has had and she will spend the R100 000 she has received from the Shoprite Women of the Year Award on research.

The research will assist her foundation in its advocacy and training work, helping to raise awareness of the importance of appropriate, well-fitting children’s wheelchairs and seating supports which are designed to improve each child’s function and independence.

The money will ensure that Shonaquip’s services are made more easily available to the caregivers and parents who work with children with disability and that awareness continues to be raised about the need for wheelchairs that prevent deformities and positively improve the lives of the people who use them.

Ms Ednah Zulu, the first principal of the Ngqengelele High School in a small village, Mahlabathini in deep rural KwaZulu Nata is a courageous woman who took up a challenge to transform a one classroom teaching facility into a high school that is awarded year after year for its matric pass rate and excellence.

Ms Zulu is using the R100 000 she received from the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award to build a library at her school. She will then continue to fundraise for the books, shelving and computers.

She will also buy a new sewing machine and materials, so that the women in the area can raise more money for the school and the library by making and selling school uniforms.

The Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award partners with the Wheat Women’s Fund that ensures sustainability by assisting the winners in managing the investment of R100 000 they receive towards their projects.

Entries have now closed for the 2012 Award which will see 5 Women of the Year announced - one in each of the five Award categories, namely: Health Care-Givers; Educators; Socio-Economic Business Developers; Good Neighbours Against Crime and Youth Movers.

The 2012 winners will be awarded with individual prize money and the Shoprite Group will also give R100 000 towards the work they do for a better future.

Furthermore the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award will honour an esteemed South African whom during her or his lifetime has inspired generations.

After the nationwide search campaign, the Award will culminate in a spectacular gala evening in July 2012 at Emperors Palace in Gauteng where the 2012 Women of the Year and Lifetime Achiever will be announced. This dazzling event will be broadcast on Wednesday, 8 August 2012 on Mzansi Magic, DSTV. The programme will be re-broadcast on the following day on Women’s Day, 09 August 2012.

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