At the last Young Women of Magnificent Beauty (YMOB) camp that Wandile attended the theme was self-development and being a successful, independent woman. There is one particular night that she remembers, this was when the girls watched a movie about a young girl from an impoverished area. In the movie this young girl is a talented chess player and it is this talent that allows her to defy all odds and become a successful player and eventually help her family escape their impoverished sate.

This was very inspiring to her because it allowed her to see that circumstance is not necessarily destiny. We all have the power to change our situation and become people we want to be. Wandile would like, in her own way, to become like the girl she watched in the movie; become the success she knows she can be and help others to do the same. This is what makes her a driver of change; she sees herself as beyond what she been born into; she is determined to be the person that she believes she is destined to become and influence others to do the same.

Like many of the YWOMB members, Wandile’s relationship with Epic Youth Matters began when she was a child. She attended the Epic Youth Matters Holiday (kids) Club and became a familiar face at many of our other events. She then became a volunteer at the same Epic Youth Matters Holiday Club and a member of YWOMB. As a volunteer at the holiday club, she exhibits a mother-like care for the children she is assigned to. She always goes above-and-beyond what is expected of her. For example, the relationships she forms with the children she meets at the holiday club, she continues even after the programme has ended; this is something that is expected of our volunteers but she goes above and beyond to do this.

Wandile is an overall amazing young woman who has has faced a few challenges of her own. One of the challenges that she experienced was her inability to see beyond the now, because of her crcumstances. She had little goals and plans for her life in terms of career and the future. However, after attending the YWOMB camp she had a new found focus for becoming the best version of herself. As already mentioned, the camp focused on giving the girls tools that they could use to become successful women in the future. At the camp, Wandile was forced to think about who she wanted to become in the future, something she had not really thought about. She was given the opportunity to think about how she can be successful which led her to formulate goals that would allow her to become a successful woman.

The Grantee Organisation funded through WVL-SA has had a huge impact on Wandile. Without this organisation the picnics and YWOMB clubs that she attends would not have been possible and she would not have had the opportunity for the continued self-introspection that led to her now goal-driven lifestyle. It was also because of this organisation that Wandile was able to gain certain skills. She learnt skills that would allow her to generate an income such as making earrings or painting nails. She also learnt about professionalism, in the context of a women in a professional society.

While Epic Youth Matters has had an impact on Wandile, she also has her family and friends to thank for the person she has become. These people have helped her formulate the goals she now has by people she looks up to and measures success by. Epic Youth Matters now also has a relationship with her family, her parents have been willing to learn how to support Wandile and other young women in their journey, including her younger sister.

The changes in Wandile has had an impact on the way she interacts and relates to those closest to her. She now pays special attention to how she treats others because she understands that her mannerisms now will have an impact on the plans she has made for her life. It is always important to adopt habits that are beneficial to your future instead of habits that hinder it. The people her around are welcoming of this change because it creates an atmosphere within the organisation and her community that encourages productivity and synergy leading to better results.

Wandile often shares what she has learnt at the YWOMB camps and picnics with those around her. By doing this she is able to better those around and possibly her community. She does; however, have plans to make an even bigger impact on her community in the future. Her involvement in her community is one her goals. She will soon be able to bring innovations and ideas that will help her community which is currently terrorised by gang-related violence, drug use and poverty. These innovations will surely have a positive impact on the laws, policies and practises that currently exist. These ideas will also be used by Epic Youth Matters if applicable.

Wandile Mhlongo is a perfect example of how challenges that may seem small have a huge impact on one’s life. Something as simple as setting goals for one’s life can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. Leading a life without goals is like being at sea without a Northern start; you have no directions. Wandile was able to recognise this as an early stage and became a focused young woman. Her future is brighter because of this and therefore, the future of others.