By Azra Hoosen
Jafar Olayinka Ojugbele
Jafar Olayinka Ojugbele, an enthusiastic grade 11 student at Star College may consider himself shy and timid but his vibrant nature and eloquence in speech, despite his slight speech impediment, exudes nothing but confidence and makes him stand out in a crowd.
Jafar was born in Nigeria and moved to South Africa in his early childhood years. He has been groomed into a well-rounded young man by his parents who have taught him to take an interest in all aspects of life, such as academics, community work, religious learning, sport and fitness, as well as his domestic skills. While he takes pride in his fitness and enjoys soccer, he also dedicates his time to memorising the holy Quran and lending a helping hand to the community. He has often assisted in projects carried out by the Islamic guidance center in the Sydenham area from a young age. Jafar aspires to make the world a better place. He participated in the ‘Ambassadors for Change’ programme and said he “enjoyed the interactive experience and learnt a lot” adding that he can use what he learnt to do more work for the community and play an active role in society.
Maleeha Dawood lives by the motto, “Never give up!” and her achievements and goals in life are an indication of exactly that. Maleeha completed her hifz, (memorization of the Quran) at a young age of 14 whilst still schooling. This required a lot of sacrifice, determination, commitment, discipline and mental strength. She is currently doing her matric through the Qurtuba Online Academy and has her mind set on going into the Occupational Health field where she would like to work with kids as she loves helping children. Maleeha is a kind-hearted spirit, who is actively involved in the community with her parents and her grandmother whose zeal to help others has greatly inspired her.
She assists visually impaired people, participates in park clean up projects, collecting and distributing clothing to those in need and is ever ready to help whenever the community faces any difficulties. Maleeha is grateful for being granted the opportunity to participate in the ‘Ambassadors For Change’ programme. As someone who loves to learn, she thoroughly enjoyed her learning experience and meeting like-minded young people.
Ferouza Hlathswayo is a final year BEd student at UNISA, who always dreamed of becoming a teacher to help underprivileged children. She hopes to one day open her own NGO to help teenagers that are suffering with mental health issues, teenagers who are victims of abuse and other related problems. She aspires to be a means of inspiration and motivation to the youth. Ferouza has been a volunteer at MYMSA since 2020. She lived in Johannesburg for most of her life, but now resides in Durban.
She also often volunteers at Delani Primary School, where she enjoys helping children. She assists with food schemes, among other projects, to help the underprivileged community. She said that the ‘Ambassadors For Change’ programme opened her mind and taught her new skills that she hopes to share with others. Ferouza is already an inspiration to others, because at the age of 39 years old, she has proven that it is never too late to achieve one’s dream.
Maseeha Abdul Gunny
23-year-old Maseeha Abdul Gunny from Verulam near Durban wants to dedicate her life to help children. Maseeha is currently studying towards her BEd degree in foundation phase teaching at the STADIO Higher Education campus. She intends specialising in Inclusive Learning and Special Needs Education.
Her gentle nature and love for children is the reason she is passionate about being a teacher. She is the eldest of four siblings and said that she tries her best to be a role model to them. She is fervent about community upliftment work and assists with various small projects to help underprivileged people in times of need. Maseeha is part of a non-religious Non-profit organisation, called “Who is Hussain” that organises charitable events for the common good and she helps out at a small Islamic school in the Phoenix area as well.
She participated in the MYMSA ‘Ambassadors For Change’ course and said that she had learnt a lot. When she is not busy studying or helping the community, Maseeha loves writing short stories.