FULL CIRCLE: Lessons from failure

During, February in 2014, I was named as one  of the 10 showcase winners for a project called “Edu-bank”. After having gone through the ACTIVATE! training programme in 2013 with no sense of direction in what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, this was an achievement. Someone or rather people had seen potential in my idea, in me and had invested R10 000.00 towards my vision. The issue is that when you’re unemployed, your idea of the value of money and the reality of it are 10 different things. Though ACTIVATE! had taught me different tools including that leadership, the most important tool for myself and the youth in general, was not incorporated into the programmed or rather emphasised enough, that tool is that of the “value of financial sustainability”. With the R10 000.00, I found myself buying a laptop, getting a graphic designer, stationery, covering transport costs and registering an NPO called “P.I.N.K Volt” which dealt with advocating the rights of women and children and then it was done. The poor reality was soon to set in.


After realising that I was out of all funds, my dependence was directed towards the route of finding funding. Once again, when you’re unemployed the reality of what you think is genius and what other people think is genius is 10 different things. Pitch after pitch, emailed proposal after emailed proposal, I felt I had failed myself. Nobody was interested in funding the idea, the drive soon turned into disappointment which soon turned into resentment. The whole concept of social development moved from changing one room at a time to the idea that I had to beg people for them to do what was morally right and what was expected of them. For me, that was the true definition of insanity. So I stopped. A month after that, after the radio interviews, I never spoke of “Edu-bank” again, up until I could find something that I could personally do to fund the project, I would not even mention it.

After a year of research, during February 2015, I started developing a brand of menstrual cups called the “Pink Volt Menstrual Cup” as a healthier, cheaper, more convenient and eco-friendly alternative of sanitary protection. I had found my ‘why’ before my ‘what’. A project and business I believed in whole-heartedly and that would be the exact product that would assist me to financially sustain my Edu-bank project I pitched a year ago. The truth of the matter is, up until you’re able to take care of yourself you won’t be able to take care of other people. What tends to happen within the network is that we promote leadership and social responsibility and we end up telling people who walk the street with torn shoes to advocate against poverty and hunger where as we; in essence are setting them up for failure. The way I see it, you have a better chance of preventing hunger by teaching the man how to fish, rather than preaching the Gospel of being full. A year later my focus is on creating a sustainable business through the Pink Volt Menstrual Cup so I can in turn help women and children through my “P.I.N.K Volt” NPO. A ‘Full circle’ later.



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