Recently as I sat in our company’s annual meeting, I was moved by the expressions and reactions of thousands of Microsoft employees as they sat silently watching a story of tenacity and hope.
I saw stunned silence, amazement, tears, smiles and then thundering support for a man named Goodwill, who overcame incredible obstacles to create a better life for himself and his family. As I listened to those around me that day and read the many emails that were sent to our team after the meeting, it became very clear that today, unlike any time in our history, we have an opportunity to change the world. One person, one product, one education, and one certification at a time.
Goodwill’s story with Microsoft begins in 2009. The simple gesture of a friend; a letter to a radio station looking for a Christmas wish. The wish was submitted by a colleague of Goodwill’s who knew his story and his love of technology. As fortune would have it, his dream came true. Goodwill was given the opportunity to enroll in IT training through an authorized Microsoft Learning Partner, Dynamix Learning Solutions.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Microsoft certification program. At the beginning of the year we announced we would donate 5,000 Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams through organizations like NetHope Academy and Microsoft IT Academy . Goodwill’s story and success initiated this campaign and his story will inspire thousands of others.
At Microsoft, we believe in the transformative power of education and technology. We aspire to help people around the world to realize their full potential. Through my travels, I have personally found that the hope and tenacity, combined with education and innovation, creates strength through which anything can be accomplished. This is best articulated in a letter to us from Goodwill, who today is happy and thriving.
My name is Goodwill Kwenza Khuzwayo and this is my success story. From a young age, I was always fascinated by technology. Unfortunately, I was born in to poverty and earning an income became priority over education. For this exact reason, my passion and interest in technology had to take a back foot and earning an income to support myself and my family became priority.
Years passed by and I moved in to a shack in Johannesburg (Diepsloot) in hope of reaching my dream which was to become educated and skilled professional in the IT industry. This dream was crushed after I got involved in a Motor (Taxi) accident, rendering me permanently disabled and reliant on crutches the rest of my life. As I am always positive and had to be for the sake of my new family, I did not give up. After recovering I found a job as an admin clerk for a swimming pool company in the Northern Suburbs. This is where I met the woman who is now my best friend and comrade, Nikki Barnard. Over the years, Nikki stood by me through thick and thin and was always there when I needed advice or motivation. I was stuck at the pool company with a very poor salary and no room for advancement. Nikki noticed this and out the goodness of her heart, did something for me which would change my life forever.
In 2009, Nikki contacted a local radio station, 94.7 Highveld Stereo to enter me in to their Christmas wish list Competition. Through her constant persistence and motivation, Highveld Stereo granted me a wish. The wish was to study Information’s Technology, staying true to my wish growing up. Putco (transport company) quickly came on board to sponsor my studies with a Microsoft Training Company called Dynamix Learning Solutions. I was finally living my dream, but more complications were on the horizon. Putco paid for me to study my MCITP Server Administrator course but did not take in to account that i had no experience in IT what so ever and needed introductory courses such as basic applications/Operating systems training, CompTIA Strata, A+ Etc. I fell behind jumping straight in to the first MCTS Module and had to drop out. Dynamix approached Putco on my behalf to query the possibility of paying for my pre-requisite training, but with no luck. My dream once again seemed untouchable.
To my and Nikki’s surprise, Dynamix approached us to offer me not only the pre-requisite courses required, but an addition to my Server Administrator certification, the MCITP Enterprise Administrator Modules, at no additional cost to me or Putco. My interest and passion for IT grew and grew throughout my Microsoft studies and my knowledge/understanding of IT increased dramatically in a matter of months. I studied Monday to Friday day and night as I knew my future now lay in my hands and my hands only. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and never let go! I am extremely proud to tell people that I am now a Microsoft Certified IT Professional, Enterprise Administrator and passed all of my exams with no less than 90% on each exam!
Not even 1 month after completing my Microsoft Certification, I got hired by the South African Electronic Toll Gates Agency and was placed in their IT Department. My dream and goal is to gain some much needed work place experience and work my way up to become an Enterprise Administrator. My new salary has also allowed for me and my family to move out of our shack and in to a new house.
Thank you my dearest friend Nikki Barnard, Microsoft and Dynamix for making my dream come true.
With warm regards,
Goodwill Kwenza Khuzwayo
Our dream of peace will be realized when everybody is given an equal opportunity and the proper encouragement... as this story clearly illustrates...