Mahlogonolo Ngoepe

Socio Skillsup

What does your company do?

At Socio SkillsUp, our mission is clear: to advocate for and empower individuals with disabilities, starting from the grassroots level. We proudly represent all 486 special schools in South Africa, advocating for inclusive and equal education opportunities. Through collaborative efforts with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and various identified Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), we are working on developing skills programs tailored to the unique needs of learners with disabilities. These programs are designed to bridge the gap between education and employment, enabling our learners to transition into the open labor market with confidence. We understand the challenges faced by learners who navigate the educational system without formal education, and we are committed to providing them with viable career pathways. By offering vocational training in sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and hospitality, we aim to empower individuals with disabilities to break the cycle of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. One of our key focuses is on empowering women with disabilities, recognizing the intersectional challenges they face. Through targeted vocational training initiatives, we aim to create opportunities for economic empowerment and independence.

What is your biggest success?

Having been nominated as a finalist for the CSI Legacy Awards, representing the Socio Skills Foundation, winner of the Best NGO Working with Disability 2024 in South Africa. This recognition is not just a personal achievement but a testament to our dedication to inclusive education. Developing skills programs aimed at addressing systemic educational challenges faced by learners with disabilities across 486 special schools. This signifies a profound step towards a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape for persons with Disabilities.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions about the capabilities of persons with disabilities has been a my biggest hurdle. Many organisations believe that individuals with disabilities can't thrive in mainstream employment or entrepreneurship, perpetuating systemic barriers.