Ordinary Heroes aka TEACH Ambassadors

Who are you and what place do you call home?

I am Wesley Zamani Mjwarha and I am from Kwa Zulu Natal.

What did you graduate with?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Technology from the University of Kwa Zulu Natal (UKZN).

What were you planning to do with your qualification? What were your dreams?

I wanted to be a medical researcher and develop medications to treat or cure people’s illnesses and conditions.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador, why did you become a teacher?

Prior to going to university, I never believed that I was good with working with people. During my university years I discovered that I was actually good with working with people. I was a Leader! A couple of friends and I led a Tutoring Project where we would get learners from communities surrounding our campus to be tutored by university students from different disciplines on Saturdays. I realised that we are members of the community before we are students. Although we did not as students have money; we did have knowledge to give. And I honestly believe that the knowledge we gave to those learners is worth far more than any amount of money we could have given them. TEACH South Africa gave me the opportunity to keep on giving back the knowledge have been privileged to obtain.

What have been your challenges as an Ambassador placed in a school and how have you overcome them?

My biggest challenge was that I found the learners at my school to be incredibly disruptive. I later found out that the school had a history of producing prominent political leaders. And the modus operandi of most of these leaders was to be as disruptive as possible as this is what got them attention and most importantly results. I then realised that the learners were merely emulating their role models and that they had political aspirations of their own. Fortunately for the situation, I had obtained some leadership and political experience though my involvement in the UKZN BEC and UKZN ANC Youth League. I then organised the learners and taught them how to organise themselves.  I taught them how to engage documents and formulate arguments. I taught them that you have to have an agenda, a grievance you must be able to clearly articulate and fight for. They learnt from me the proper process of engaging in politics. I started leadership classes whose sole purpose was building leaders of calibre and not popularity; educated leaders with character. I realised that some of the learners had the talent to be tomorrow’s leaders; they just lacked the guidance and mentorship that would allow them to realise their potential. And I am happy to report that the disruptions have subsided.

What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about being a TEACH Ambassador?

Changing a life and influencing the life of a child in a positive way has brought me more fulfilment than any large sum of money could. We are not just teachers facilitating the delivery of a curriculum, we are agents of change that I believe have had a significant impact on the lives we encounter every day in the classroom. We are busy preparing and capacitating them for the future. We are exposing them to opportunities they never knew they had or never knew how to access. Just the other day, I was researching the different application processes and fields of study of the different higher education institutions in the country for my learners.

What is your vision in life and how does education fit into it?

Look, I am the first in my family to graduate with a university degree. I have seen first-hand the opportunities that my education has provided to me and not to my family members. I know the value of an Education. It is difficult to predict where life will take you. But I would like to think that wherever life takes me, I will be a conscientious leader. Conscientious in the sense that I know what an education can do to and for a young person’s life. In that sense, I guess I will always be a TEACH Ambassador.

If you had to give someone one reason to become an Ambassador or help in the education space; what would it be?

Charity begins at home and ultimately we are all members of a community and a society. And the problem is that people think it is about money. And that’s not true! I believe that when you have an information, knowledge or an idea, you have everything to give. All that’s is required is that You have a desire to influence and impact Your community and also the vision to see where You can help.

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