Lusanda Magwape

Dream Factory Foundation
https://www.dreamfactoryfoundation.org

What Does Your Company Do?

We create educational tools and programs that improve the educational outcomes of learners and train unemployed youth, especially young women with professional and personal mastery, digital and entrepreneurial skills that enable them to transition successfully into adulthood and participate actively in the economy instead of being a social burden

What is your Biggest Success?

My biggest success has been the impact in the lives of our youth. From 2015 to 2018, our educational tools and programs have empowered and trained 6381 young people, over 60% of whom are young women. 85% of our participants have moved on to receive economic opportunities in the form of long-term jobs, tertiary education or started their own entrepreneurial initiative. Our efforts have been recognized through winning the 2016 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Education, the 2016 Youth Leadership Ministerial Awards (Western Cape), 2017 Google Rise Award (one of two in Africa to receive the award), the 2017 Social Enablers "100 most inspiring Social Entrepreneurs worldwide", 2018 Cordes Fellow: awarded to 50 of the world's most promising social entrepreneurs, 2018 recipients of the Young Women Transform Prize (https://www.youthpower.org/news/meet-winners-young-women-transform-prize). In an effort to transform access to quality education for young people, we have received Observer Status with the AU Human Rights Commission. As a CIVICUS member, I was selected to represent the voices of youth-led and grassroots organizations that seek to have greater access to the EU partnership process at the 2018 EU Partnership Forum (https://www.civicus.org/index.php/es/component/tags/tag/ec-partnership-forum). In 2018, I was selected as the AU/EU Youth Hub Expert (https://www.aueuyouthhub.org/#clusters|2) and Facebook Community Leadership Fellow (https://communities.fb.com/program-participants/lusanda-magwape), which enabled me to start Dream Factory Foundation Botswana and to also extend our work to the Eastern Cape. We are also in the process of an MOU with the Western Cape Department of Education as implementing partners of their Growth Mindset Initiative that is set to impact 150 schools.

What has been your Biggest Hurdle?

In 2018, for a period of three months, I could not pay my staff and neither could I earn a salary because our cashflow dried up and the contractual payments we were expecting were taking longer than expected. I felt I had failed as a leader and I did not know how to face my staff. I waited to the very end of the month to let them know that I could not pay them. I realize now that that was a major mistake because they felt betrayed that I did not communicate and trust them to carry with me burden of the challenges that we were facing. I watched staff members leave and others stopped coming to work because they could not afford the taxi fair. Yet, in the midst of that difficulty, other staff members used their funds to pay for others and provide for their groceries. Others chose to use their last monies to come to work. Even though I would never want to go through that experience again I matured and learnt a lot from it. I learnt to trust my team and be honourable as a leader by communicating the growth and challenges of the organization. After all, I always say to them that "we are a family"- I now had to live by those words. It also revealed the staff members who could be trusted, who genuinely cared for and sowed their lives to the organization by sacrificing their everything even in the toughest times. I also learnt to hire a financial manager who would better manage our cash flow instead of doing it myself amongst all my many responsibilities.

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