HCI honours Hassiena Marriott in Women’s Month

Hassiena Marriott, GTI’s Head of Education, was recently chosen as one of the HCI Foundation’s Phenomenal Women as part of Women’s Month.  The full nomination text appears below with permission from the HCI Foundation. 


This August, the HCI Foundation is shining a light on the great women we work with through our programmes and partner organisations. These are women who are beacons of hope and are paying it forward through their invaluable societal contributions that are aimed at improving the lives of others.

Meet Hassiena Marriott the head of education at the Global Teachers Institute

Hassiena hails from Phoenix, a township in Kwa Zulu-Natal, where she grew up and attended many schools there. Her parents were extremely hard-working leaving home before sunrise and coming back home after sunset. As the oldest child, she had to ensure that her siblings were taken care of.
“There was not a lot time for play, as a child. I also spent many hours working in my dad’s shop, completing my homework, inbetween customers. Our determination to move out of a cycle of poverty helped us get through the challenges we faced with dignity, and we developed a resilience that has ensured our success.”

Resilient and hardworking from a young age, she notes how her family encouraged her to achieve the best she could. Growing up, Hassiena had aspirations of becoming a medical doctor or a forensic investigator but knew that she would never do all this because of being financially short sleeved.
She tells of a moving story of strength and determination when she recounts how she was able to attain higher education faced with financial hardships coupled with time constraints…

“I applied and received a bursary to study BPaed Science, a teaching degree. I studied science thinking that after I pay of my bursary in service for 4 years, I could resume my studies and become a doctor. The bursary only covered tuition. I attended classes from 8 to 4:30 and worked every afternoon and all weekends as a waitress. This was extremely difficult. I would fall asleep in class regularly. I was not as prepared for examinations as I cold be and did not complete my degree in 4 years but in 5. I did not really mix with other students as I rarely had time to do this. My family were in another province, so it was extremely lonely. I met someone who became a real friend and that provided some support for me. I knew I had to complete the degree to ensure that I had a better life than my parents. There was no other alternative. I also had a great work ethic and determination and a never give up attitude.”

Hassiena believes in paying it forward and has dedicated her life to helping others reach for greater heights, accurately on record, she mentioned…

“I became a science teacher as I loved science, thinking and problem solving. Even though I did not initially want to be a teacher, I loved interacting with young adults. I found that my story, which I told them, inspired them. I felt loved by them. They filled me with a need to put others before myself. My passion for learning, discovering, thinking, finding solutions, activating, was felt by them and I could see the influence I was having on them. I discovered that I had the energy, power, charisma and leadership style that was irresistible to children and many adults. Once I knew this, I set my life on a path to touch the lives of as many people as I possibly could in a positive way. Inspire, support, motivate people to achieve their goals.”

When asked about what being a #phenomenalwoman means to her, she added…

“I absolutely love being a woman. The power we hold is undefined. It is how we use this power that is key. In the recent past people have associated women with being emotional. I say we have a high EQ, emotional quotient. We can address issues by keeping the person and people at the centre of the solution. We give birth to people, we nurture them, set them free but always holding them close.”
Please help us to celebrate @Hassiena for the tremendous work she does and being a #phenomenalwoman this #womensmonth.

Thank you for all that you do, we are grateful for your contribution and for paying it forward through education.