Women With Vision (WWV) founder, Rashida Mukadam, has been a permanent feature in charitable work in Mthatha since she founded her organisation in 2007.
Mukadam, a mother of three, first arrived in Mthatha from India in 1989 and the following year she landed a job at Vela Primary School, as a pre-primary teacher, until 1998.
After she left teaching, Rashida ventured into sales, selling high-end kitchen and bedding products, a venture that grew rapidly and saw her managing her own small sales team in Mthatha.
Despite the success of her sales venture, Rashida stepped back from her thriving business and put her secretary in charge, to form and focus her energy on WWV in 2007, with the aim of helping the underprivileged community in Mthatha.
“The birth of Women With Vision was as a result of years of persuasion from my friends and family who, after seeing the charitable work I was doing privately, persuaded me to have a formally registered non-profit organisation,” she said.
“I started the organisation with nine other women but today it has grown to 35 women and has also grown beyond Mthatha, as we have a branch in East London that was launched in 2019, and earlier this year we launched another branch in Cape Town,” Mukadam added.
Among WWV’s flagship philanthropic efforts over the years are the building of additional rooms for 16 children at Happy Home, an institution for people living with disabilities in Southernwood, Mthatha, in 2014, construction and handing over of a classroom to the Polar Park community in 2015, and building of an ablution block for children at Polar Park in 2017, as well as assisting with renovations to Eluxolweni Boys’ Home, a home for abandoned young boys in Ngangelizwe Township.
The organisation has also distributed food parcels to orphanages and bought glasses for visually impaired children, as well as providing continued educational assistance through bursaries and medical assistance to underprivileged children.
Mukadam said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the organisation, as they also had to adjust to the “new normal” to continue with their work.
“We managed to raise funds virtually and member contributions helped us support 150 families that were in dire straits due to the pandemic, with groceries, clothing and household goods,” she says.
Asked about her plans, Mukadam said she plans to permanently relocate to Cape Town early next year to be close to and spend time with her grandchildren but has assured the Mthatha community that WWV would continue, as she had already handed over the reins into the capable hands of Lamby Xaba, as the new organisation’s chairperson in Mthatha.