FROM humble beginnings as a domestic worker to becoming the founder of an umbrella body running crèches in Edendale, gogo Florah Buthelezi (70) says she still has much more to do to help others. She believes her life became better when she forgot about her own problems and started helping others, because there “is something beautiful that happens in my heart when I help others”. Buthelezi was forced to drop out of Inchanga Roman Catholic School while doing Standard 5 (Grade 7) to work as a domestic worker. In 1978, Buthelezi started her first crèche in Mpumuza. “In 1986, World Vision of South Africa started helping me with a salary for being a project manager for seven crèches under Inkululeko Crèche in Mpumuza,” she said. In 1996, Community Chest helped her start an umbrella body of crèches called Khulúgqame Crèche/Pre-schools Association. Buthelezi said her tough life as a domestic worker shaped her need to help others. She knew that if she had someone to help her then, her life would have been much better. “I would have continued with my studies … I left school while I still had a love of it,” she said at her Nhlazatshe home in Edendale where she has been running the Inkazimulo Crèche for the past 20 years. Through her dedication to helping the community, Buthelezi has received numerous certificates from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She recently received a local Indondo award for her sterling community work. When The Witness visited Buthelezi last week, she was busy auditing for the crèche because she believes that donors would not support her if she did not look after her books properly. “I don’t like lazy people because that is the root cause of poverty and that is why I have a garden at the crèche and at home,” said the energetic gogo. Buthelezi said: “I find joy in my heart when I help those who are less fortunate than me. When the vegetables are ripe I reap them and send them to pensioners who are heading households in the area.” She said her hobbies were listening to gospel music, gardening and reading. “Hard work has kept me younger and I tell young people that I train in gardening that the secret to life is working and helping others because there is a blessing there.” Buthelezi took out an architectural plan for a building and she said: “My dream is to build a shelter for abused women. I made these plans because I have the land to build. “The problem is funding that is still not forthcoming, but I know that God will make a plan because when I die I want to ensure that I leave something behind that will help these women and children,” added Buthelezi.