The next big thing
Every graduate deserves a spot on the corporate ladder. Here’s how #TeamGraduate will help you.
17 September 2019 | People
Pull Quote: “Few people are born ambitious. Your ambitions are crafted by what you see, what you hear, what you do and who you surround yourself with - young and old,”- Helena Mboti, founder of Team Graduate.
#TeamGraduate is a project that was started by Helena Mboti, a Rhodes University alumnus who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in financial accounting and economics. The project is aimed at providing much-needed support to young graduates.
“I want to give learners the support they need as they go through school and plan what to do after. I am creating a platform where teachers and companies will be able to actively engage with and support learners through their education.
“Through free e-learning, daily motivation, an information hub and so much more, learners will be given the tools they need to succeed.
“Teachers will also be able to use the platform for supplementary materials and companies will be able to directly interact with the learner group. The platform is designed to be used alongside the current education system and not replace it,” Mboti said.
After graduating, she joined PwC as a tax trainee, where she was trained in tax compliance. She then went on to join FirstRand Namibia in January 2014 as the group’s tax compliance officer and was responsible for keeping the group and its subsidiaries in good standing with the tax authorities at the finance ministry.
“I have also had the privilege of being selected as a 2019 Mandela Washington fellow, which has been such an amazing learning journey,” she said.
“Few people are born ambitious. Your ambitions are crafted by what you see, what you hear, what you do and who you surround yourself with - young and old.
“It is unfair to blame a child who struggles to pass grade 12, when they were not given the tools to do so. When they fail, it is hard to rewrite the exam and there are few affordable options beyond that. Yet we still expect them to become productive members of society,” Mboti said.
“Many Namibians have managed to get through the system, otherwise the country wouldn’t have new graduates every year, but how many more could have made it with just a little more support?”
Mboti has started a project called #TeamGraduate, which will provide that much-needed support.
The aim is to inspire a learning culture in youth. Their first target will be high school learners from grades 8 to 12 and teachers in public schools.
The team consists of Mboti, her partner and two others. Together they make dreams come true for learners who are struggling. They are joined by a software developer, who helps with the tech side of things.
“Through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, I have made great connections in the United States of America that are further supporting us with improving our technology and content.
“I am still looking for educators to draft the content, so if anyone has any experience in teaching any subject please let me know,” she said.
Victories and challenges
A major stepping stone that still remains a challenge is funding. Mboti says they are passionate about keeping the platform very affordable, and it’s hard to get funding for social entrepreneurship.
“Thankfully over the years, we have managed to make some great progress in this regard, although we are open to talk to companies that are interested in hearing how they can contribute to the platform too.”
Another challenge was getting people to understand what they are trying to do.
“It’s a big platform with many components, but it’s definitely a challenge. I think my team and I are up for it.”
The team further had challenges building the technology. They have, however, found an amazing local developer who has begun developing the system.
They have also made good connections in the US to further enhance the technology.
The next step
“I hope to create a space where learners will feel completely supported, motivated and guided. I want every Namibian to have an equal opportunity at success, and multiple opportunities to achieve that.
“Now that almost everything else is in place, I am looking for educators who want to be part of the content creation. If anyone wants to help create a learning culture, please contact me,” Mboti added.
Five Mboti fun facts
• She hates birds. They freak her out. She doesn’t care how big, small or ‘pretty’ they are.
• She loves crime shows and finds the psychology interesting.
• She loves music and actually wanted to be a musician at the age of 10.
• She used to debate in high school and was pretty good at it.
• She grew up in Windhoek.