By Buyi Ndlovu, Social Worker at Pietermaritzburg Mental Health
Mduduzi does not know his parents, nor whether they are still alive or not. He was raised as a Muslim man who has passed away and whose sons still care for him. He has an intellectual disability. He was admitted to Inkanyezi workshop in 2010, there Mduduzi displayed leadership qualities at the workshop as he was the one who helped other mental health care users to learn how to do contract work. He was passionate about his job and he did not like to see other mental health care users struggling with something. He dedicated his time to everyone in the workshop. He liked all activities done at the workshop and he was flexible with everything. He was also involved in baking skills training and other work skills training opportunities that was conducted by an Occupational Therapist and staff at Inkanyezi.
He showed an interest in access and control and he was committed to learn everything that involves security in the workshop, so he continued to voluntarily provide the workshop with a security service during the workshop hours while doing his other tasks, for more than 6 years. For him what was important was to improve his skills in terms of growth and development in the security industry.
He is in receipt of a disability grant and he manages his finances well. He has the ability to prioritise his needs. He was taught finance and budgeting skills and is able to do his own shopping. He is able to function mostly independently with the social worker providing guidance. When he started to receive a subsidy from the Department of Employment and Labour in 2019 he has was assisted with further budgeting skills. The social worker monitored his bank statements and concluded he was using his new income effectively and responsibly.
In 2020, his name was proposed for further training in access and gate control and was then selected as a candidate for a HWSETA learnership programme. He said he was shocked when he received the letter that was invited him to the induction training. He attended the induction process with the support of his guardian, workshop manager and the social worker. He was very excited about this opportunity. Currently he is on the HWSETA learnership for the period of one year. He now earns a stipend the equivalent of minimum wage.
Mduduzi says that he has a passion for access control. He loved helping at the Inkanyezi workshop because there was no other security at the time and the gate was operated by other mental health care users which, according to him, it was not safe and so he volunteered himself to do the job.
Now that he has a paid learnership, Mduduzi is seen every morning at least an hour before work begins, already sitting at his security station. He is proud of his achievements and of securing this opportunity. Everyone at the workshop is proud of him and very happy about his progress, and believes he deserves this opportunity. Mduduzi is also well respected in the family because he is contributing towards monthly groceries which is a great help to his uncle who is the bread winner. He has already managed to save a large amount of his salary because his budgeting is so good. His confidence has improved vastly as he sees himself as a valuable person both at home and in the workshop.
Mduduzi’s dream is to build his own house because he managed to save his money, and because he has been sharing the room with other people for such a long time, this will be a great success for him. Mduduzi has shown to others with intellectual disabilities that with good will and eagerness to learn and a great working attitude you will get somewhere and the chances are good for employment. There are plans for him to experience further formal security training opportunities.