We have both broad and in-depth experience of empowering the Deaf across a wide range of industry sectors, as manifest in the successful placement of a number of Deaf candidates with the assistance of our associates, funders and sponsors. We are additionally able to call upon the services of a number of resources with a similar empowering and transformative vision, all with a view to empowerment of the Deaf. The profile of our Managing Director lends credence to the scope and depth of the experience we are able to offer:
Sikelelwa Alex Msitshana is a Development Consultant with over twenty years experience gained both in the development and corporate sector. She carved her teeth in the Human Resources field when she first took on a position with a national industrial footwear manufacturing company south of Johannesburg. She further enhanced this skill when she was appointed in 1998 to set up the human resources department of the first and permanent Independent Electoral Commission established under the 1996 Electoral Act, as a body to promote and safeguard constitutional democracy in South Africa. While at the IEC she was later deployed to the International Liaison and Fundraising unit where she learnt and sharpened her skills in the international liaison field. In the latter portfolio she engaged with various international donor agencies as a mandate to raise funds for the IEC and to position the IEC to be a major role player in electoral capacity building and democracy development through partnerships developed with various international and SADC Electoral bodies. She played an integral role in the development of these partnerships that saw the IEC import and export a huge amount of electoral skills. From here Alex moved on to serve in a number of Corporate Services roles with various organisations and gained strengths in a variety of corporate service functions including Human Resources Management and Corporate Governance.
Unfortunately, a few years back Alex became ill and lost her hearing and after a long road to recovery, she soon discovered the challenges presented by Deafness when she tried to go back to the world of work. Suddenly she could not find employment notwithstanding her vast experience, skills and qualifications. After a long struggle, she was given an opportunity by an organisation for the Deaf and tasked with the responsibility for the organisation’s work placement programme. In two short years with this programme, she and her colleagues managed to place close to fifty Deaf applicants in various organisations in the country. This experience further gave her an insight into and an understanding of the challenges faced by Deaf people in accessing empowerment opportunities. She came to realise, know and understand the importance of helping other Deaf people to get empowered as well.
Late in 2015 Alex established and founded the Deaf Empowerment Firm (DEF) whose aim and mission is to provide a holistic empowerment service to the Deaf and people with hearing loss through work placements, internships, skills and enterprise development. She is now a Patron of the National Institute for the Deaf (NID) and also serves on the Board of CBM – SA (Christofel-Blinden Mission – South Africa) an International NGO with its Head Quarters in Germany that is working to alleviate poverty for all persons with disability worldwide. In 2015 she was appointed to serve on the Presidential Working Group on Disability.
In addition to various speaking engagements that she has been invited to, to share her experience regarding being a person who became Deaf late in life, Alex also delivered a paper at the XVII Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf which was held in Istanbul, Turkey from 28th July – 1st August 2015. The title of her paper was “Current trends, conditions and new directions in the employment and status of Deaf youth in South Africa”.