Tumi’s path to independence as a mother of three
A strong will to pursue her goals
Tumi, who was born and raised in Johannesburg and is a mother of three, graduated from the AMAZI Academy in December 2021 as a certified nail technician and now has a successful career with ambitious goals. However, getting there was a challenging and courageous endeavor.
During her childhood, while growing up with her relatives, Tumi did not have a place that felt like home. She had to do her neighbors’ laundry to buy toiletries and bread, and she was deprived of motherly love, as well as moral and financial support. Nonetheless, she has always had a strong will to overcome hurdles and advance in life. “Whatever I didn’t get growing up, I will do for my kids. I know how it feels to go to school with an empty stomach. I don’t want them to have this experience. I am fighting for that.”
Finding her professional self
As a young woman her struggles continued, as she found it hard to acquire the skills needed to find work. Then, one day, a friend forwarded Tumi a link that introduced her to AMAZI, a South African organization that specializes in nail and beauty treatments and uses an entrepreneurial approach to fight inequality. Tumi was instantly captivated, as she has always had a passion for beauty. After doing some research, she learned about the AMAZI Academy and applied. When she was accepted, she felt as if all her prayers had been answered.
Supporting women through purpose and impact
The AMAZI Academy addresses the lack of access to work and a stable income for women growing up underprivileged and helps them to get ahead. Once equipped with vocational skills and confidence, they become economically active with an ambitious outlook. AMAZI’s unique training approach includes the further development of soft skills, along with nail technician, marketing, business, financial, and entrepreneurial skills, as well as support via coaching.
Tumi joined the AMAZI Academy in 2020, which equipped her with the skills and moral support that she needed at that time, as well as a certificate. When AMAZI opened their Beauty Bars in Woolworths department stores across South Africa in the summer of 2022, they selected Tumi to be a part of the team servicing customers at one of the Woolworths stores in Johannesburg.
"AMAZI believed in me and offered me opportunities to change my situation."
Empowerment as a motivating force
Through AMAZI’s training, Tumi has become aware of how serving clients also means being a brand ambassador. AMAZI employees are responsible for selling the brand through quality work and the courteous treatment of clients. Tumi is confident that the training she received at the AMAZI Academy empowers technicians to deliver superior treatments.
"AMAZI taught me how to be in charge, which is a positive and empowering feeling."
Tumi is a hard worker and a jolly one. She likes to joke and stay positive while fulfilling her dreams. Today, she feels equipped to conquer whatever challenges may come in the days ahead. Knowing why she wakes up in the morning intrinsically motivates her. “I don’t need anybody to tell me to be here; I know why I am here.”
An independent, caring mother
Tumi is now independent and able to earn a living for herself and her children, which makes her proud. The activities she can offer them have changed given the advantages of having a regular income, e.g., she can now take them out for a meal or go on vacation. Her income also allows her to focus on her children’s education. But most importantly, Tumi is able to show her kids how much she cares for them and give them what they need.
"My kids know for sure that if they need anything, I will take care of it."
Tumi dreams about running her own business in the future – an ambition that AMAZI fully supports – as it would allow her to offer jobs and income to other women who find themselves in a similar situation as the one she was in previously.
AMAZI provides training and employment as a solution to structural unemployment problems that particularly affect women in South Africa’s lowest-income areas. The impact venture supports unemployed women with a holistic professional skills building program in which trainees develop the necessary competencies to become financially and socially independent.
Author: Romy Sauer, Communications Specialist at elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization