In the spirit of International Women’s Day, which took place on 8 March, we celebrate three inspiring female leaders from The Love Trust – Mabel Sikhakhane, Felicity Wyche and Michelle Peters. Each woman brings unique strengths to help make this organisation successful, making them true pillars for their community.
Mabel Sikhakhane, Principal of Nokuphila Primary School
Mabel’s journey began when she joined the school as a grade two teacher in 2013, before quickly being promoted to head of the foundation phase due to her hard work and dedication, which was duly recognised by The Love Trust, who run Nokuphila. She already had more than two decades of teaching experience by then, and after further successes such as heading up the preschool, Mabel is now the Principal of Nokuphila Primary School.
As Principal, her responsibilities include ensuring that the school runs smoothly and that the curriculum is followed. She is also a member of the School Based Support Team and offers her knowledge and expertise as a certified counsellor. The major driving forces behind her career is her calling to teach and her will to empower herself by moving into positions of authority to enact the changes she sees is needed as a teacher.
“I always tell parents: education is the key to success,” says Mabel, “that their support of their child’s education is crucial to that success. Yet, many of the parents themselves didn’t finish school and think there’s no point in trying to pick up their educational aspirations – that it’s too late. But it’s never too late to be educated. For example, one of The Love Trust’s Nokuphila Teacher Training Academy (NTTA) students is 75 years old! There are a number of ways that adults can complete their school careers and I am always happy to offer help and advice.”
Felicity Wyche, Contract Administrations Manager at The Love Trust
With her BA in psychology and communication, and her diverse career history Felicity feels her learned skill sets have been extremely useful over the past five years in her role as the Contract Administration Manager for The Love Trust. Together with The Love Trust’s South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Accreditation partner, Teacher Learning Centre, and the Nokuphila Teacher Training Academy team, Felicity ensures that The Love Trust’s vision of quality education, with an emphasis on due diligence, is achieved throughout all their teacher training centres.
To this end, she has set an ambitious goal: to ensure quality education standards are met at each of their nine national teacher training centres across the six provinces. The Love Trusts’ goal is to eventually have a teacher training centre in each of the nine provinces. To support the sustainability of this growth, The Love Trust will look at established branches.
Felicity’s words of encouragement to other women are prayer and perseverance: “I look at women in any challenging situations and they persevere,” says Felicity, “and eventually, they get there. I also think we tend to forget, in the busyness of the day, what a couple of words of encouragement can do for somebody. Our Director of Academics, Silas Pillay, always encourages us to be the shoulders for somebody else to stand on – it’s not all about us.”
Michelle Peters, Head of Training and Facilitation at Nokuphila Teacher Training Academy (NTTA)
Michelle learnt about The Love Trust through the Christ Church in Midrand. Michelle and her family have always been passionate about making a difference in their country, particularly when it comes to supporting vulnerable children. So, when the request for volunteers for The Love Trust was made, Michelle didn’t hesitate and began volunteering upon its opening in 2010 as a receptionist. In 2012, she started teaching grade R and in 2014 she was appointed Principal of the preschool until the beginning of 2021 when she took over the role as the Head of Training and Facilitation at the NTTA.
The NTTA specialises in training individuals already working in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) field from Thembisa, to earn their accredited NQF Level 4 or 5 ECD qualifications. Their aim is to provide these people with tailored programmes that not only offer theoretical insight but practical implementation as well, with Christ at the centre of the teachings.
“I have a passion for developing teachers,” Michelle adds, “because I know the value of a well-trained teacher based on my own experience as a teacher and mother. I know that what we’re doing here is impacting more than just Nokuphila, it’s impacting children all over the country, and in particular, thousands of children in Thembisa.”
These ladies have all walked a different journey with The Love Trust but they all started off by answering the call to do more for the community and South Africa at large. Visit The Love Trust website at https://thelovetrust.co.za/ to see how you, too, can do more!