A worthy mother
Refilwe Makola, a 47-year-old mother of five children and an ex-offender who became a firefighter tells her story of how Working on Fire restored her dignity.
She says after being paroled by the Department of Correctional Services, she didn’t think she would ever be employed again.
‘‘If you have a criminal record, chances of getting a job are very slim. Luckily I was placed at the nearest team of Leeuwfontein in Moloto, east of Pretoria,’’ she says.
Makola says she passed a fitness test in a recruitment drive at a Correctional Centre in Pretoria in 2014. ‘‘For me, this job opportunity meant a second chance. I was now known for being a firefighter and that brought me dignity. Today I can tell you how the opportunity has empowered me as a mother.’’
Makola is currently supporting her child who is studying at a college in Johannesburg with the help of the monthly stipend she gets from the programme.
‘‘I am able to purchase clothes and food for her while studying,’’ explains Makola. Makola says it is because she can provide for her children that she feels she is worth being called a mother. ‘‘That makes me proud and happy as a woman,’’ she says.