Former Big Brother Mzansi Lerato Modise gives children a fighting chance in society

BBM housemate on a mission to upskill children

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Former Big Brother contestant Lerato Modise on a mission to help upskill young minds.
Former Big Brother contestant Lerato Modise on a mission to help upskill young minds.
Image: Supplied.

Although her dreams of being this season’s Big Brother Mzansi winner didn’t materialise, Lerato Modise has gone back to her initial plan of helping to upskill children from her community. 

The 33-year-old’s initial goal coming into the infamous house was to be a cultural provocateur who brought certain issues to light, topics that were often seen to her other housemates as disruptive. 

Despite not being understood by her fellow former housemates, Modise told Sowetan SMag that child advocacy will always remain at the core of her offering – a mission she started in 2014.

“I’ve always loved children and the importance of nurturing their little minds. Giving them the necessary skills and tools they need to get ahead has always been the plan,” said the aspiring actor. “When I was young, I would voice and point out all the things children from my community needed or how certain things should be implemented for them to get ahead. I knew I had to do this because at times no one seemed to care what these kids think or feel.

“So, I start engaging with them and assisting with whatever problems they had. From homework to abuse-related issues as well as puberty. I even noticed how their confidence would often get affected when they'd engage as kids from townships/rural schools with children from multiracial schools. 

“Often times children from disadvantaged backgrounds are left behind, hence my advocacy is standing in for those who can’t talk for themselves... I'm at the forefront of making sure that their grievances and needs are addressed. As well as their resources being provided.”

The entrepreneur and “activist of goodwill”, who is fondly known as “Miss Robot” to the children she works with, has always been about igniting creativity and sharpening young minds by helping them to think beyond their mental capabilities. 

She does so through her online and physical programme called Robotical Learning that offers and facilitates chess classes, computer lessons and tennis practice for all children, even those overlooked by society.

“My sole mission is to provide a safe learning environment for children. An environment that allows them to study and understand the world around them,” she said. “I’ve led a lot of philanthropy campaigns and activations that build and guide our youth, this includes children with disabilities.”

Modise has also been working on an animation series titled “The Robbotical Clan”, which is a constructed learning programme/curriculum built to bridge the gap between the early childhood development (ECD) education provided at multiracial schools and townships schools.  

“From a young age I was taught to fend for myself. I started selling small cakes in primary school. I then ventured into several other things before finding that my passion lies with the child development and edutainment.... that's why I came up with this animation series that’s led by a cartoon character named Miss Robot.

“She helps kids with their homework, conducts them self-development classes, teaches them robotics, writes books and creates board games for them. The series is not yet complete. I’m still adding finishing touches to it and hopefully it’ll be on kids' screens soon.”

The Free State-born singer's future plans are to dominate the TV screens as an actor as well as opening a learning centre in her hometown. 

“My constant mission is to combat the stigma of separation for children who are able to those living with disabilities. They are human too and if we as a society don’t hide them but give them the necessary tools and skills they need, they will definitely be able to survive on their own in society," she said. 

“I also hope that this will do away with discrimination amongst all children. Whether they are visually or hearing impaired or living with albinism, their voice and contribution matters in society and that’s why I was in the Big Brother house. I wanted to spread the importance of inclusivity for all children.” 

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