Vibrant Zama empowers women through Project Dignity

Zama Magoso is just one woman, but through her passion for others’ wellbeing and her day-to-day work, she is empowering other women with dignity. The 33-year-old was appointed Projects Co-ordinator at Project Dignity in February this year, and has already impacted the lives of thousands of schoolgirls through her dedicated work.

Project Dignity is the non-profit extension of KwaZulu-Natal based organisation, Subz Pants and Pads. Founded by Sue Barnes, Subz Pants and Pads is a completely reusable sanitary pad and accompanying panty, created to address the challenges experienced by schoolgirls without access to sanitary wear. Through sponsored donations of the Subz packs, these girls are able to attend all classes with dignity and confidence.  

The distribution of the Subz packs to schools throughout the country takes the form of an activation which includes an interactive talk on puberty as well as an explanation about the use and maintenance of the Subz product. For Zama, it has been the experience of meeting the young women, and hearing their stories first-hand, that has made the work she does so worthwhile.

“I really enjoy re-visiting the schools after six months, performing our monitoring and evaluation visits, and hearing exactly how the Subz packs have assisted these girls,” explained the mother-of-one. “It’s also fantastic to hear how much knowledge they have gained during the educational programmes.”

 A resident of KwaNgcolosi in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, Zama has extensive experience within the NPO space where she’s worked for the past 15 years. Her previous roles have included Project Co-ordinator at ChildLine KZN, LifeLine KZN and enke: Make Your Mark. She is a qualified Victim Empowerment Worker, counsellor and Skills’ Development Facilitator.

It was during her time at LifeLine KZN that her path crossed with Project Dignity and she started leading the educational aspect of the school activations for the NPO. After taking a two-year sabbatical, Zama started working at Project Dignity part-time, eventually making the leap to full-time employee earlier this year. 

While she loves her work, she admits one of the difficulties is insufficient funding required to meet the growing need: “We have a database of donation requests, and while we are able to make inroads, there is always more need. This is challenging as we are approached by so many organisations and we have to ask them to wait until we have sufficient funds to roll out.”

However, a tenacious spirit and positive attitude leaves Zama undeterred by any challenges, and she’s always ready to help where she can: “I have a passion for people. I feel, for me, it does not matter where I have found myself, as long as I am bettering a life. The work brings patience, understanding and unwavering vision for change. I can only give my best.”

Commenting on this extraordinary woman, Sue Barnes said: “Zama is a gem! She’s a natural educator with a heart for community. Her passion is working with and uplifting young women, empowering them for a better life. Her natural ability to engage with the youth makes her a huge asset to the organisation.”

When not running after her bubbly four-year-old daughter, Zama can either be found curled up in bed with a good book, catching up on her favourite series or heading to the beachside for some fresh air and relaxation.

For more information about Subz Pants and Pads visit www.subzpads.co.za or visit www.projectdignity.org.za for news on the NPO’s activities