WRITTEN BY: OMEGA NGEMA
If you think maths is boring tedious and impossible to understand this young entrepreneur from Oslo Beach on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast has got just the solution for you.
Far from being your ordinary mathematics tutoring classes, Larrise Naidoo’s ground-breaking Vedic Maths online school completely changed the face of mathematics learning.
“Our aim is to change the perception about maths from boring, tedious and difficult to fun, fast and flexible. In doing so, we hope to improve maths literacy and reduce maths phobia,” said Larrise.
At Vedic Maths Africa, Larrise offers online teaching of an ancient Indian system of mental maths. The 27 year old mathematics teacher matriculated cum laude from Creston College on the South Coast and said maths was always her favourite subject at school. After high school she went on to study and obtain a Bachelor of Business Science (Hons) in Economics and Law from UCT. Larrise however said, it was only after graduation that she went on to rekindle her first love for mathematics.
After graduation, she took a gap year teaching English in Guatemala and travelling Central and South America and discovered her passion and what would become her life long career in teaching.
Upon her return to South Africa she continued to harness this passion and she earned a fellowship Numeric, an NGO based in Cape Town which runs an after-school Maths education programme in lower income areas, and taught a Grade 7 class in this programme at Parkhurst Primary in Mitchells Plain in 2016.
During this period Larrise was studying for her PGCE through Unisa and attended intensive high school Maths content classes at the Numeric Teacher Training Academy in 2016. In 2017 she started teaching high school mathematics and mathematical literacy at Curro Hazeldean in Pretoria East.
Vedic maths, an ancient Indian system of mental maths was introduced to Larrise by her mother, Suria Naidoo, a yoga practitioner and teacher, and says she was blown away by the easy and effective methods.
“As a high school maths teacher, I see first-hand how maths negatively affects learners self-confidence. By the time they reach me, many have already been traumatised and lack basic foundational skills,” said Larrise.
“Doing mental maths has benefits that exceed just an improvement in maths marks. I was disappointed that I didn’t learn this earlier, but rather late than never,” she said.
Turning this passion into a business has affected her life many ways she said.
“Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to create a purpose driven life. I feel fortunate to wake up everyday excited for what lies ahead. To be given an opportunity to share your passion with world is something I hope everyone gets to experience. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways and brought out sides, positive and negative, that encourage me to become a better person.
After a whole year of battling it out in the business world, Larrise admits that although she was born into a family business, the recipe to success is hardly ever set and stone in entrepreneurship.
“Success is finding your purpose and following through. I look back at the detailed business plan I created last year, which doesn’t remotely resemble the business I am running today. I think there are key characteristics you need like commitment, flexibility and most importantly courage,” said Larrise.
Through her entrepreneurial journey, she said she has learnt to always take the opportunity to upskill herself that failure is actually just redirection and while working alone may help one grow faster, working together with others will make you go far. Nonetheless, Larisse said she enjoys the challenge that comes with bringing a vision to life.
“As an entrepreneur, I am excited about the new skills that I am acquiring everyday, and the wonderful people I have encountered on this new journey, and ofcourse the added perk of answering to no one,” she laughs.
She advices other young people wishing to venture out on their own to just get started already.
“There are many free resources available to build and market all types of businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; people are very willing to listen and assist where they can. And finally, take every opportunity to share your idea and vision. There are amazing incubators and competitions offering opportunities for start-ups. Everyone is recognising that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic growth in the country,” said Larisse.
“I regret not having started my business earlier. Entrepreneurship is not something that is encouraged in the schooling system. We are conditioned to study hard, get a good degree and job. Stability is great, but you can do both. There are no boxes in today’s world,” she said.