Wendy Samsodien is a 19 year old young woman from the township of Manenberg, well known for its high level of crime, poverty, and unmotivated youth. After completing high school, Wendy had no means to further her education and was unemployed. In January 2019, she was given an opportunity from Dream Factory Foundation to become one of the Emergent Business and Coding Academy participants, furthering her education by gaining knowledge in computer science, business and entrepreneurship, and job-readiness skills.
Throughout the program she has gained confidence and experienced personal growth. As part of the business course, she came up with a business plan to solve illiteracy in township communities. She noticed that in most township spaces there are no libraries, or if there is one, it is usually too far for youth to safely access. Unable to go to the library, the youth become demotivated to read due to their limited access to books, and Wendy felt that she needed to do something about this. Literacy and education are one of the tools that youth can use to shape their world. Wendy also noticed that the youth spend most of their time on their digital devices. These two insights led her to the development of her website, called the IKamve'lihle (a bright future) Hub. Her website aims to ignite a love of reading through online interaction and dialogue. The website will also provide access for the users to be able to submit their own stories to be published online.
Wendy was one of the top ten students selected to present their business plan at the Ladies in Tech business pitch through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, and won the award for best presentation. After a successful job interview, she is now interning at the Dream Factory Foundation where she is part of the media team, and is also one of the project leads of a Program called CS First, in partnership with Google. With the CS First program, she is now teaching coding to kids in the Gugulethu township. This skill is important since these kids come from schools where there is no access to computers, therefore, Wendy’s efforts are part of combating computer illiteracy in our youth.
Wendy is enriching lives and ensuring that youth have relevant skills in the future as the world is becoming more digital. Wendy is also a facilitator in the #BetheDream program, where she motivates learners from Salt River High School to Be The Dream, rising above the circumstances they face, their background, and all obstacles to education. The transition from an unemployed young woman, to a student, a teacher, mentor and an active citizen - Wendy Samsodien is a true success story.
The Dream Factory Foundation is one of seven winners of the Young Women Transform Prize.