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Vision to reality for Cheryl

She is the operations manager at Frida Hartley Shelter, a dream come true for a much younger Cheryl with a vision board.

She has embraced the vision of Frida Hartley, who in 1922 opened the home to help women who had fallen pregnant out of wedlock.

For the last six years, Cheryl Hlabane has played an active role in the lives of women who have suffered through abuse. To those she has helped Cheryl is fondly known as mom, aunt, gogo and sister.

Today, she is the operations manager at Frida Hartley Shelter, a dream come true for a much younger Cheryl with a vision board. She has embraced the vision of Frida Hartley, who in 1922 opened the home to help women who had fallen pregnant out of wedlock. Cheryl Hlabane has played an active role in the lives of women who have suffered through abuse.

Over the last 97 years, the shelter has evolved to become a home for women running away from abusive families, husbands and boyfriends. When Cheryl took over the reins at Frida Hartley, she had no idea the impact she would have on the women who passed through its doors. “I come from a family of philanthropists and always knew I would follow the example set out in my life,” she said. Cheryl Hlabane has played an active role in the lives of women who have suffered through abuse. After completing matric a friend suggested she joined her in studying human resources, and Cheryl thought it was the right career path.

Also read: From abuse to success

“After finishing just half the year I was so bored. A friend of mine was doing temp jobs and said I should join her and I did. I loved it. I was doing different jobs and meeting so many people. Many companies asked me to stay on longer but I was always ready for the next challenge.” Eventually the company temping Cheryl out asked her to join their team. Cheryl Hlabane has played an active role in the lives of women who have suffered through abuse.

She soon discovered that she had a unique talent for placing people in the right jobs. “I was getting everyone I knew hired. It felt as though every job that landed on my desk had the right person waiting. Everyone was amazed at how well I was able to place candidates in jobs”

As a CSI project the placement agency adopted Friday Hartley Shelter and Bethany Home.

This was the first time Cheryl became acquainted with the work the two shelters do in the community. She built up a great relationship with the homes, and in 2015 Cheryl was asked if she was willing to take over the day-to-day running and management of Frida Hartley Shelter.“Working with the two shelters was a great way for me to add value to society. The company asked if I would run with the project and I agreed.”She started enlisting the help of companies she’d worked with to offer skills development at the homes and felt it was a great way to prepare the women living at the shelters for success.She built up a great relationship with the homes, and in 2015 Cheryl was asked if she was willing to take over the day-to-day running and management of Frida Hartley Shelter.At the time she was warned that the shelter was in trouble, but she refused to believe it.

Cheryl Hlabane has played an active role in the lives of women who have suffered through abuse.

“I quit my job and walked into the home. I thought everyone was joking when they said the home had no money. I thought we’d be alright for at least a month or two, but that wasn’t the case. There really wasn’t any money. There was nothing, and there were mouths to feed and children to clothe,” she said.

“I had many sleepless nights, but I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. I sat down and drafted an email which I sent out to 1 000 contacts I had built up over the years. The people I didn’t email, I called. I asked everyone I know to help the home.

“My hard work eventually paid off. People started listening and they started responding to my pleas.”

Six years after her first involvement with the shelter, the home is flourishing and can boast an 85% success rate for women.

“A few years ago my mother was moving from Johannesburg to Durban, and she sent me a photograph of the vision board I had made when I was in my teens. ‘You have your shelter’ her message said.”

On the vision board, among her other hopes and dreams, was a young Cheryl’s wish to one day run a shelter.

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