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A hidden talent comes to light - Maria Magaya's Story

Updated: Jun 1, 2021


Maria Magaya is an absolute joy and inspiration to all who meet her and Yes We Can South Africa Foundation is so grateful to have her join our team. Originally from Zimbabwe, she has learnt to adapt her skills from being a domestic worker to a house keeper into running her own sewing business from home within just 1 year. She has come up with the design for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) outfits to help protect our front line health workers against Covid and is taking in all the knowledge that she can from the courses she has been offered through YWC and not taking anything for granted, but appreciating everything that has come her way.


Maria didn’t know how to thread a machine. She taught herself, over the course of a year, how to sew with a bit of assistance from relatives and YWC members. Maria learnt so fast and was so eager to grow she acquired an industrial sewing machine with a bit of financial help from a friend – as it did cost R4000.00. “I now employ my twin sister, who is blind and is responsible for ironing and putting the elastics onto the facemasks and the caps, my cousins, as well as my brother-in-law who has the ability for design in making clothes” says Maria. She

became the main bread winner of the family. Her husband Justin is a gardener but mucks in with the sewing as well! She is earning even more than before lockdown. She has 2 regular sources of income now.


"Yes We Can helps me to get more experience, like opening up my brain to grow more! Doing my own thing, like putting something into practice and ending up with a good sample. Working from home saves on traveling costs too. During this pandemic, I did not have work every day, but this organisation of YWC has helped add to my salary in a very positive way", celebrates Maria, who also sells donated cotton reels to those in her community of Khayelitsha.


Maria’s family has a vegetable garden, which have produced some very healthy organic produce for themselves. This obviously helps to keep the food bills down a little bit and is good wholesome foods that in the long run will keep them healthy!

Sadly, Maria’s 2 children live and are schooled in Harare and staying with her brother. Whilst in South Africa the whole family was subjected to Xenophobia threats and so Maria and her husband thought that it was best to send them back to Zimbabwe where they are safe. She sends money to them on a monthly basis now that she is in a position to do so. She and the husband are building their retirement home in Harare.


Maria posed for our catalogue wearing Personal Protective Equipments that she made herself! The ladies assisting her have their own strengths when it comes to sewing, some prefer to make the PPE garments which are made from waterproof material following strict Covid 19 hygiene protocols. It can be washed many times. No waste to Mother Nature! Others prefer to make the facemasks, etc.


All PPE garments, which retail R199 long sleeves and R149 short sleeves, are for the social workers who work with women against Gender-Based Violence, rape crises, in the hospital and lifeline centres and for the 1 on 1 critical cases. Social workers and Counsellors fighting against GBV visit survivors in hospitals so must be protected against Covid. Maria and her team have made the Personal Protective Equipment they are wearing, so that they can safely continue this vital work.


Maria has completed a 3 month Business Course, through Learn to Earn in Khayelitsha, that was sponsored by YWC. Her next challenges are to obtain her driving license and to complete a 3 month computer course through the Clothing Bank which starts in a few weeks. Each person is allowed to bring one other person with them, she is bringing her husband. YWC and the Clothing Bank are in collaboration with each other, to which we (YWC) are very grateful.


And to top it all she has printed YWC business cards of her own, which always gives one a little extra boost to one’s self! Everything is to Maria’s merit, YWC only encouraged her to start all this. We are so proud of Maria Magaya! Show the world your value and strength, sister!

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