Rosie Mashale says whether she comes home as the CNN Hero of the Year or not, the experience has opened many doors for her and her organisation.
In 2000, Mashale found a boy on her doorstep. That was the birth of Baphumelele, an organisation that cares for orphaned and abandoned children affected by HIV/Aids in Khayelitsha.
Mashale, know as Mama Rosie, is a trained primary school teacher. She moved from the Eastern Cape to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape in 1989.
As the managing director of Baphumelele, she will be landing in New York City on Thursday ahead of the CNN awards ceremony.
“I am going there with an open mind. If I don’t win, I don’t win. But this is a great experience.”
In an interview with CNN, Mashale says that she's never turned any child away.
"We have the children's home for 126 children. We feed them. We clothe them. We send them to school and have counselling for them. Most of them are abandoned. They are orphans."
Mashale, along with the other finalists, will also be receiving leadership training after the awards ceremony.
The winner of the award will be announced in a ceremony on Sunday.