Life transformation begins with mind transformation

“Every opportunity and platform provided to empower women, has been a life changing journey for me. Working closely with Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit – (WVL-SA) has supported my passion to empower women and children, I am forever grateful.”

Siphosami Ndala is a young dynamic woman, with a deep passion for impacting people, with a particular interest in women and children. Her organization, Ubomibami Foundation, a non-profit organization which she founded in 2014, has been active in the advocacy of women’s rights and children’s rights. In 2016, Siphosami organized her organization’s first Women Empowerment Event, for close to 100 ladies.

The vision of these events was to create access to various information and tools that women could tap into in the long run. Diverse topics and professionals were brought in to empower women about women’s health, entrepreneurship opportunities, self-development, mental health and much more. A very sore topic for Siphosami was the rising epidemic of violence against women and children. It was in 2018 that Siphosami decided to amplify her work in Gender Based Violence and thus she sought for a self-defence training school that could assist her with the practical side of how women can fight back in the plight of GBV.

This is when Siphosami met the owners of a women’s self-defence company called Fight Like A Girl, based in Hillcrest, Durban. It was Ann and Christine of Fight Like A Girl, who saw the bigger picture of Siphosami’s passion and immediately felt compelled to start a “train the trainer” program with her. Within a month, Siphosami was a fully-fledged outreach self-defence instructor for Fight Like A Girl.

For the past 2 years, Siphosami and her team have been visiting churches, organizations and women’s groups, creating awareness around GBV as well as educating women on how to defend themselves in the face of violence. This is how Siphosami became acquainted with WVL-SA, when she was invited to one of their workshops to do what she loves, empowering women.

At the Women’s Entrepreneurship Workshop in March, Siphosami spoke with such passion and knowledge, the ladies were not only emancipated, they were inspired to take back control of their lives, knowing they don’t always have to succumb to being victims of violence, they can now avoid being victims or fight and be survivors of violence.

“Just knowing that you hold the power to save a life, is such a humbling feeling. But above that, being able to impart someone with tools to save their own life and of those close to them, that is priceless”, responds Siphosami on how empowering women has changed her life.

Being a single mother to a girl child and a boy child, Siphosami believes this also presents an opportunity for her to impart vital principles on both gender spectrums. She believes that parents hold a great deal of power in shaping the state of the future generation. It is the parents that can teach girls to protect themselves, to know how to defend themselves and to speak up against any type of violence. In the same vein, parents can also teach boys about toxic masculinity and how violence is not the way to solve problems.

This is why Siphosami also does a lot of work with children, because she believes the earlier these principles are taught to young people, the less problems society will encounter in future years. She has enjoyed working with young women as well, and hopes to be able to do more work with young boys too in the near future. Taking her children with her to these events provides Siphosami a practical platform to teach them about GBV and self-defence, and they both enjoy the exposure.

Though Siphosami has thoroughly enjoyed her journey as a community developer, she mentions it has not all been a smooth road. “They say find your passion and let it guide you to your destiny, but often times the reality of the challenges ahead is not always known until you start doing the work. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted”, as Siphosami explains how running a non-profit organization can be demanding at times. She mentions how for the most of her time running her organization, she has had to self-fund it in order to see her vision through. “It gets very hard sometimes, and I can understand why most organizations don’t always make it as financial resources are very scarce for non-profits as well as administrative help to keep non-profits compliant and active”, she adds.

As a professional, Siphosami has worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years. This emanates from her love for people and the joy she finds in helping people. As a dedication to her inclination towards the health industry, Siphosami has also conducted Cancer Awareness workshops over the years through her organization Ubomibami Foundation. These have been conducted mainly at local community churches in and around the Durban area.

Ubomibami Foundation and Fight Like A Girl programs have been minimal in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She believes a lot of adjustment will be required for many organizations going forward. “Much will be different once things start to settle down as COVID-19 regulations will be with us a long time coming, and as non-profits we need to adhere to all regulations set in order to not compromise the wellbeing of the communities we want to help. As organizations we need to be well informed around these governing rules for COVID-19.”

Siphosami continues to look brightly to the future and hopeful for the work ahead of helping women and children, empowering and advocating for their constitutional rights as citizens of a democratic country. In closing, Siphosami mentions that one of her organization’s mission is to create long lasting partnerships with organizations that share the same values and have similar objectives, and having partnered with Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit (WVL-SA) projects has and continues to cement that mission for Ubomibami Foundation.