Women’s Day Inspiration conference generates R800 for Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library

Mrs Elizabeth Muller received R800 cheque from Yusuf MosesIn August 2008 I hosted the first annual Women’s Day Inspiration Conference in Uitenhage. This fundraiser collected R800 for the “Friends of the Uitenhage Town Library”, which was handed over to Mrs , the Senior Librarian, who also supported this project from the very beginning.

How did we decide to give the funds raised to the Uitenhage Town Library over any some other worthy cause? Well it was easy because this place was my only source of information during and after school. I received the benefits of studying and the same material and resources were made available like at any tertiary institution. This advantages I reaped is freely accessible for nothing more than your South African ID document and a small annual membership fee. By acting on what was available I conveyed my appreciation for learning.

For the previous five years I worked at Inergy Automotive System assembling fuel tanks. I spent eight hours a day, five days a week working for money. I treasured, appreciated, and loved every single Rand I earned in wages. Sometimes I worked overtime and if it was not my shift I would swap with someone else, just to work overtime. That is how far I would chase money. The harder I worked, the more selfish I became. This was true not only for others but myself as well. So people usually considered me a stringy person. And I would defend myself by saying I am not stingy, I am just saving for a brighter day. One thing I stayed away from was any form of gambling. And therefore I never cared about playing the lottery because I felt it was a waist of good money.

Than I started a company called YKM Events & Marketing because I wanted to earn an extra income and keep even more money for myself. People didn’t believe they had enough money to make their dreams come true. I organised weddings and 21st birthdays for people on reasonable terms. YKM was my second source of income and I minimized the costs for my clients while making a good return on investment. I worked with people from all walks of life; some were in low income brackets, while others earned high income. In August 2008 I made a bold move to leave Inergy Automotive Systems and sell my share in YKM to my previous business partner. YKM really changed my life and opened up my eyes. It allowed me to see things I never saw before and find out giving was a good thing.

On Thursday, 14 August 2008, I fully embraced my charitable side by handing over the cheque raised in the Women’s Day Inspiration Conference a week earlier. The Uitenhage Town library will use the money to continue with their good work in helping people less fortunate. These are the people like myself who have the urge to become something better although they do not always have the means to do so. Handing over the cheque I could see the faces of the chairman, Mr. T.G. De Beer, secretary, Mrs. L. Lerdon, the treasurer, L. Terblanche, assistant treasurer, G. de Beer , committee member, T. England, L. v.d. Merwe, H. de Beer, G. Timms, light up with appreciation, gratitude and new inspiration to continue their great work.

Mrs Elizabeth Muller, the Head Librarian of Uitenhage Town Library, thanked us and was overwhelmed with joy for our great efforts.

Uitenhage celebrates Women’s Day Inspiration

This is the story of the first conference where I was the MC, the event organiser, the host and everything else.

“Yes!!! I did it.” I, Yusuf Moses, pulled it off…

I overcame my fear of speaking on a stage. When I got on that stage I felt that I had the power to change the world just with the words that I conveyed and that was frightening. That’s the one thing that made me tremble with fear and made me stutter; however, I knew if I didn’t get onto that stage at that moment I would disappoint all the people and most of all I would disappoint my mother, Halimah Moses, and Mrs Elizabeth Muller. Moreover, I would surely not want to disappoint  Ramon Thomas and make him lose  trust and confidence that he had in me. I believed I had a message, and it was an important one: I wanted to inspire Uitenhage, I wanted to educate them.

That is why I had to get onto that stage. The morning of Saturday, 9th August 2008, I was nervous and in a moment of near panic I felt like running away but deep down inside of me I knew that it would haunt me for the rest of my life. Running would become much easier next time … I would never achieve my dream of standing in front on people and changing their lives.

I am happy that I went through with it because I learned some valuable lessons:

Lesson 1

It is possible for an individual to change the world like Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale. I read and heard such stories about these great people in history, changing the world, but that was “history” to me. It seemed unreal; even Nelson Mandela too far fetched because I had never before experienced that power of speaking to the world. I did not realize that when I stepped onto that stage but…. when I got down after my last words I realized that one person can change the world.

Lesson 2

People want to help you succeed. There were people that I met not long before my big women’s inspirational day who went out of their way to help me succeed. Every time that I had to ask someone something, I reflected on whether I would be willing to do that for someone else? Then I would answer, “Yes, but that is not me.” That’s when I started to doubt them. Yet that’s when I learned to put my trust in what people say and to believe that they would follow through. (I learned to trust people again.)

Lesson 3

I learned to appreciate everyone I knew. For the first time I really appreciated the people that came and I could help them to help themselves even more. But the greatest reward was seeing the faces in the crowd wanting to hear more of what I had to say. It was people like Mr Antony Larter, telling Ramon, “It will help Yusuf if we clapped a bit.” It was Mrs Muller nodding her head when I said, “Never let anyone take away your dignity”.  Women are dream builders.

It was Mrs Olwen Carson running around at the very last minute for me, Yusuf Moses, whom she had met just a few days ago; she had known nothing about me, yet there she was helping me find a “tea pot” for the event. I can still feel the lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes but I kept them back because I felt that I would still need to approach a thousand more people and I had to be strong when I met them.

There was Mrs Gretal Olivier who came all the way from Alexandria telling me that it was not my fault that this public speaking was a fear to me; at her school it was part of the curriculum and if it had been a part of my curriculum a few years back it would not have been a fear. It was people like Mrs Karen telling me, ”You did a great job organizing this much needed yet so neglected event”. I could see the pride in my mother’s eyes. Only a few days earlier I had told her that I was resigning and I could see her dream of me working at a factory for 10,20 or even 40 years being shattered.

Now she proudly told me, “Yusuf, my son, you are now an adult and I can no longer choose for you. But remember I will stand behind you in whatever you choose to do with your life, because you have never let me down before”. I will never ever forget these timeless words that she said. It was for Mrs Lizy of the friends of the Uitenhage Library just smiling with appreciation. It was for Gareth whom I work with for telling me, “Hey, bro, just relax”