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March 2021 1st edition

Realising a life passion

Namibian-born Nadia Lubowski, is passionate about her work as a teacher. She completed a diploma in Early Childhood Development Diploma at the College of Cape Town and won the best student award. "I am extremely fortunate to have an aunt who really believed in me and paid for my studies at the FET college," she said. This opportunity has opened many doors for Nadia and helped her to realise her life passion.

Nadia Lubowski is realising her dream of helping young children."I was given a book as a prize and remember vividly one of my favourite lecturers saying, "I picked the book especially for you, because I know you will enjoy this type of thing". It was a book on play therapy and I still have it today and every time I see the book on my bookshelf or read something from it, I remember my days at the college." My lecturer's comment set a very fundamental thought process in motion.

Nadia enrolled for a Bachelor of Primary Education degree with UNISA, but they received lectures at the College of Cape Town. She graduated in early 2006. "While I completed my degree, I embarked on a process that sparked off the biggest passion which I live today: I went to a small school in Sea Point to do my in-service training" Nadia explained.

"Here I noticed how some children in the classes were unable to speak English. Not only did they struggle to speak English, they also struggled to understand what the teacher was teaching and therefore could not understand the instruction that was being given. I made plans about how I was going to remedy this problem as soon as I had finished my degree."

Why am I a teacher?

At the beginning of 2005, Nadia went to Australia for three months to research ideas and methods on how to teach children effectively. She compiled a basic teacher training course that she offered at Child Welfare over a three-month period. The intention of the course was to provide teachers with a self-development and introspection opportunity regarding the question "Why am I a teacher?", Nadia explained.

I had felt so strongly during my in-service training months that it is the teacher's responsibility to engage with learners in a way that makes school a place that children want to attend. After completing completed her degree, Nadia was eventually offered a position as principal at a small pre-school in Philippi, a small township on the outskirts of Cape Town, where she had to train and develop staff in Early Childhood Development and engage with the community and families of the children in a way that would make a real difference for the children.

"The school was a very happy place. In the three years of teaching there we had many of the children graduate to Grade 1 and 2, and every afternoon the children returned to the school. The need in the community is immeasurable, and teachers approached me daily to assist them in developing their schools in the way we had ours," Nadia said.

Educational trust

Nadia completed an honours degree in Education at the University of Cape Town and is working towards a Masters degree. In 2007, she started a non-profit organisation, the Anton Lubowski Educational Trust, with the vision of transforming South Africa through education, in collaboration with other organisations.

"Anton Lubowski, my father, was a political activist in the 1980s, and he was assassinated in front of our home in 1989. He truly believed that education was the only way that we would transform Southern Africa. Since his murder has never been solved, the best way to honour what he stood for, and gave his life for, is to keep his legacy alive by giving children the best-quality education any child could ever wish for, Nadia said.

They are now working in partnership with the Department of Social Development, Matchbox, Roots and Wings Trust, Children's' Campaign Trust and many others to begin the social change that South Africa needs.