My name is Daniel Munnik, I’m from Wynberg. I had a pretty average life, I didn’t get great marks in high school and did not have any aspirations. Whatever my circumstances were, I did not feel empowered to change it. Before I joined Rlabs I struggled to define who I am supposed to be and just became content with not growing as an individual. I had a job and I would have eventually gotten a house, car, and other materialistic things that most individuals would want in their life, but I was very unhappy in it. Part of me feels like I would have destroyed myself before I even gained those materialistic things but I needed a change.

I became quite fond of technology and IT-related things and decided to venture into it by doing a one-year course in IT at a tertiary institute, I passed with a distinction and believed I found my passion. It was a great starting point into what will become a successful and happy career. I wanted to get my degree in IT but unfortunately, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer which drained us financially and ultimately meant that we did not have the funds to further my studies. I tried finding other sources of funding but to no avail. RLabs came in and saved my situation offering me this position to further better myself and earn an income that I am entirely grateful for. I am no stranger to overcoming adversities and I believe the part that helped me the most was being planted into a spiritual home. I have no idea where I would be if it was not for my spiritual home. Other factors that contributed to me managing many of life’s problems are my genuine relationships, my sports clubs, and my family. All these factors gave me the drive to keep on going in life as well as my spiritual home intervening when I would go astray. I am genuinely starting to believe I am capable of making a huge difference in the world. RLabs has given me something that I would never have got to if I did not join this venture, which is a sense of hope. I am starting to get aspirations I thought I would never have and that for me is what changed the most, since I joined RLabs.

All the sessions I have had with RLabs has taught me something new, whether it be emotionally or technically. Using Wix to create websites (which was a deliverable) was a journey that destroyed prior stereotypes and discriminations that I did not know I needed to let go of. Learning how to use glide apps also got me thinking way more creatively about how I can use it to impact people around me that I care about. The challenge I had was adapting to working remotely because I was so used to being in an office with a working environment. What I did to overcome this was listening to the propel sessions that RLabs gave within the first few weeks on how to use Google Drive that gave me the tools to organize myself and now I have a working google spreadsheet that is accessible and editable anywhere for me to stay on top of my tasks. It has even crept into my personal life, I now have a shopping list that keeps track of the household items I need.

I joined the Skills Accelerator opportunity because I heard by word of mouth the good things RLabs is doing to young individuals. I wanted in so badly and when I got the message that they are recruiting people to learn digital skills it took me no hesitation to fill out that form. I joined this program because I knew this is a great opportunity for me to do what I am passionate about and go further into where my destiny lies. It has only been a few months and I can already say I am in the right place at the right time. We as humans have a gut feeling about things and this decision I made just sits so well with me like something exponential is at play here. I feel like I have a sense of belonging. I am gaining employable skills and the most important thing is I am becoming a better human internally. The highlight of this journey is how I am improving my mental and emotional state through the courses that RLabs gave us, I did not expect that and I quite naively just thought it was going to be digital skills training. This is not the first time I am earning an income. But when I was studying full time I could feel the loss of that income I was previously earning. RLabs gave me a nice middle-ground for me. To learn and earn an income is way better than to learn and not earn.

My advice to youth that are unemployed is to keep searching, keep moving and stay positive. Be willing to learn anything and everything. Ask people for help. Don’t expect anything to be handed to you and be willing to work hard for it. Get involved in the community in a positive way you have something in you to give to others. The best way to start is just to start.

The Skills Accelerator is a proudly RLabs initiative that is made possible thanks to the support of JPMorgan Chase.

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