Behind every UCS parent is a learner striving for a better future; one where a child can dream of becoming anything she puts her mind to.
Mpuseng Dorah Mabusela, or Dorah (second from left) as she is known to everyone at UCS (United Church School) where she works, is a hardworking single parent of three – a daughter and two sons.
In the 1970s, Dorah was living in Pretoria struggling to make ends meet and so she moved to Johannesburg in search of a better life. “Growing up as a little girl my family and I had to do all that we could to survive,” she says.
Her young life consisted of 4am wakeup calls to go fetch water and firewood so the family could cook and clean. She would do this every day before setting off for school. “By the time I got to school I was too exhausted to learn properly,” Dorah explains.
She was eventually forced to drop out of school because of the poverty. She would often end up eating yesterday’s pap crusts as bread for breakfast. “Life was extremely hard and unimaginable. Christmas time was like heaven on earth because that’s when I got to eat bread, custard and jelly. If times were not as bad, I’d even get a new outfit. It was hard back then,” she says.
When Dorah arrived in Johannesburg she worked the odd job but often found herself unemployed. Then in 2005, her luck turned around when an aunt let Dorah know of a vacancy at the school where she was working. She went for an interview and got the job. The school was UCS and Dorah has been employed there ever since.
She is happy working at the school and takes pride in her job but the cherry on the top was that her daughter, Teboho, enrolled there as a learner and excelled to eventually become an intern teacher at UCS Primary school. This was even more poignant for Dorah because her sons never managed to get their grade 12s due to life’s harsh circumstances. “I knew that my daughter was going to be in good hands. The school is very disciplined. Good morals and values are instilled in the learners. The teachers are outstanding and go out of their way to make sure the learners get educated and get the best results. I am so proud of my daughter as an intern at the school. She too will become a great teacher one day soon,” says Dorah.
Read Teboho’s story about life as an intern at UCS.
Life is good but mom and daughter still had their fair share of challenges. Dorah had to find enough taxi fare for them both to get to UCS in the middle of Yeoville when they were living in Soweto. They were also waking up at 3 in the morning to make sure they got to school on time. Realising their struggles, UCS came to their rescue by providing them with accommodation close to the school. Dorah and Teboho have been living there for 6 years now. “I am truly blessed as a mother because thanks to the internship programme my daughter was educated to educate more learners to become the future leaders, doctors, engineers and business owners of our tomorrow,” Dorah concludes.