Nelson Mandela once said, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ For Lindiwe Shibambo, the founder and CEO of Maid4U, these words are especially profound.
Lindiwe, a former domestic worker, is now the owner of a successful employment agency and has not only created 14 full-time and 4 part-time positions in her business, but is directly responsible for the training and placement of thousands of women in jobs that enable them to provide for their families.
From an early age Lindiwe has lived a life governed by passion, drive and resilience. Coming from an underprivileged background, her opportunities after Matric were extremely limited due to financial reasons. But she knew she wanted more in life and worked as a domestic worker to raise the money she needed to register at a tertiary institution to further her studies.
She was employed within the finance sector for over 10 years and after experiencing endless challenges when employing and assisting her colleagues in finding reliable domestic help, she founded Maid4u from a shack in Soshanguve. Maid4U, has grown substantially since then and is now fully licensed and authorised by the Department of Labour, CIPC, SARS, APSO and SADWF. They focus on sourcing unskilled, untrained and uneducated woman from rural and underprivileged areas, who show the capacity, discipline and integrity required for any work environment and train and place them in positions where they work as housekeepers, child minders, care givers, nannies and baby sitters. The training they receive gives these once unskilled work seekers a competitive edge in this sector and even enables them to own their own small cooperatives while Maid4U acts as their support structure.
On the other end, all the ladies registered within the agency and assigned to households or companies are screened and a full profile with all supporting documents are sent to clients for security reasons and for safekeeping. This is done to provide peace of mind to clients and to demonstrate their clean and professional service. They also assist employers in all the legal aspects surrounding employment.
Lindiwe says that her 18 months as a domestic worker enabled her to understand the challenges of the industry both as a worker and an employer in need of reliable domestic assistance. These insights have proven invaluable to her success.
There have also been many challenges – cashflow, lack of capacity and access to funding to name a few, but Lindiwe and her team’s determination and perseverance has seen them through these obstacles as they continue to grow and make a difference in their community.
Today she tells the domestic workers she places not to look down on being a domestic worker but that every skill is important. ‘I had no skills, but I could cook, iron clothes and clean the house and I used these skills to make a living and start my tertiary education.’1 She reminds us just how powerful it is to start small, dream big and believe in yourself.
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