Nadine Maselesele, a 17 year old donates a computer lab to her school

Nadine Maselesele was last year selected as one of three South African fellows of the Facebook Community Leadership Programme, a global initiative that invests in people who are building communities using Facebook’s tools and platforms. She received a $50,000 grant from Facebook to be used for her community initiative, ‘Salt River High Tutoring’.

Who is Nadine Maselesele?

I am 17 years old. I grew up in Limpopo until I finished primary school then I moved to Cape Town where I attended high school in Salt River High School. I matriculated in 2018 and I’m currently studying Electrical Engineering at Northlink College. I love helping people in anyway I can and enjoy it. Since I was very young, I have been passionate about helping people and today, I find myself doing it every day. I am a risk taker and I’m not afraid to test the waters. I started traveling when I was in matric and that is where I started taking more risks.

Tell us about your journey to the FCLP? 

I was nominated by an NGO called Dream Factory Foundation. I met the Dream Factory Foundation when I was in Grade 9 and since then, they have been working with Salt River High to help learners achieve their dreams. When Dream Factory Foundation nominated me I had an interview with Facebook and it was about helping the community. At that time I was helping my classmates with maths as we didn’t have teachers at the school and it never crossed my mind that what I was doing was something that could take me so far. After about a month, I had just returned from Egypt for an AFS and BP STEM academy programme Facebook sent me an e-mail that said I was accepted for the FCLP program, it was the best day of my life.

What inspired you to want to bring change in your community?

Not having a maths teacher was frustrating and I lost all hope for my future at that point. It felt as if I, together with my schoolmates were neglected and that got us all frustrated. My twin sister and I started teaching ourselves; and when we understood we taught our classmates and that brought a bit of hope in us; so we got inspired to keep helping others. Another thing that inspired me was the tutors from PWC who would give up their Friday afternoons to help us with maths and that moved me and made me appreciate their work. I wanted to give up a bit of my time to help someone.

Tell us about the Computer Lab donated to your school, how did this idea come about?

The idea of The Dream Lab came when we had to apply for university as the matriculants of 2018 and some of my classmates did not have the resources to do so. We had to go to Dream Factory to apply for universities and bursaries. It was sad when some of my schoolmates did not know how to operate a computer; and so we thought a computer lab would be the best thing to bring to the school as it would prepare learners for tertiary institutions. The Dream Lab is a space where learners will explore and be inspired through different themes and tools such as coding, programming,  virtual reality, robotics, computer engineering and many more. This is to expose learners to different interests and careers. The computer lab will also help with CV writing, teaching basic computer skills, university application, tutoring and many more.

How much impact such a gift will make at Salt River High School?

Nadine Maselesele

I believe many learners will be able to apply for university and they will definitely have basic computer skills. Learners will be motivated to work hard and try and make their dreams a reality. This will help increase the pass rate of the school. Learners will be able to access any learning applications such as Khan academy.

What has been the most challenging thing on your journey so far?

The most challenging thing on my journey is balancing my school work and the project. I have days where I will sleep for almost three hours and try to study and work on the project too ( most of the time I’m tutoring). Some times I focus on my school work than the project.

And what has been the most exciting thing on your journey?

Meeting other community leaders from around the world. Through them I get to learn new things every day. Tutoring learners either from Salt River High or other schools is also exciting because I get to learn from them too. Getting to travel to American to meet new people is amazing and enjoyable. I learn everyday through the project and that I find to be most exciting part of this journey.

What are the future dreams for Nadine?

My dream is to help more people and change more lives using whatever resources I have, even if it’s my time. I dream to pursue a career in engineering and also study further.

What is your message to young people in the position to make a change but deciding not to do anything?

Instead of being part of a crowd that is waiting for someone to do something in a situation; be the someone the crowd has been waiting for to do something. Use whatever you have, even giving up your time can change lives and your life at the same time. Just remember, a little goes a long way.