At this time of year each year we go through our recruitment process to select our Makomborero students for the coming academic year, which runs from January to December in Zimbabwe. We ask our applicants to tell us a bit about themselves – their family history and their career aspirations. And, each year we have to make heart wrenching decisions about who we will and won’t offer a scholarship to – based on their academic merits, their level of poverty, and, through psychometric testing, our judgement on how well they will make the transition from a rural school environment into one of the top private schools in Harare. This is just one of the stories we received this year. It is because of children like this that we do what we do…
“I was born in December 2000. Our family lived together until 2003 when my mother died. This had a greater effect on my life, and my mother’s death was painful. My father decided to remarry another woman to take care of me because I was still very young.
My stepmother was very harsh to me. Sometimes I even spent the whole day without even swallowing a small piece of bread or anything. My father did not realise all these things. When I was in grade one, some of the times my father left me some money when he went to work but my step-mother took it.
I was not allowed to report it to my father and if I did, I was beaten severely. Sometimes I was beaten severely for no reason or for even small mistakes. If I thought of my mother, I cried and felt much pain in my heart.
When I was in grade three (9 years old), my father died in a car accident, coming back home from where he worked. This made my life into a serious condition. It was like jumping from a frying pan into the fire. After his funeral, my stepmother told his relatives that she was able to take care of me since she had no child of her own, and they agreed.
I stayed with her for the whole year and the following year. Sometimes I stayed at home for more than two months because of my school fees not paid. At the end of 2010, my grandparents realised that I had dropped out of school and they decided to take me to Harare where they lived.
I was glad to live with them, but after six months in 2011, my grandfather died. He was the only person I was left with who could take care of me since grandmother was now advanced in years. This was very painful to me and grandmother. All relatives refused to look after me and grandmother. Grandma had only one son who died, my father.
Whilst at Primary School most of the times I stayed home selling tomatoes in order to raise my school fees. Sometimes we stayed for two days without eating food. Now, we were a very poor family. When I was in grade six, an opportunity came at my school. BEAM needed students to pay school fees for and I was recognised by my teachers.
Life went on like that but I had no hope that I would pass my grade seven final examination. My grade seven teach made me to improve. Every day we wrote tests early in the morning and this made me improve. During the grade seven second term, I was amazed to hear that I was number two among all grade seven classes.
Even my grandmother was amazed to see my report book. We only praised the Lord and pleaded for mercy to come up with impressive results at grade seven final examinations. We waited for the results and they were good. I was over excited like never before.
In 2014, God gave a blessing through a Church member who decided to pay my school fees in form one. I learnt at High School until 2016 when I was in form three. The member had a family problem and moved to Bulawayo and also said that she was no longer able to pay my fees. I was troubled and then I decided to sell tomatoes again to take care of my family and my fees. The school fees were affordable but according to my family I could not afford it.
My form three ended but the situation was worse in 2017. During this year, there is an economic crisis and it is difficult to raise my school fees. Sometimes I stay home for more than a week raising the fees. I depend on other pupils’ work because I have missed several lessons. I go to hoard tomatoes early in the morning and prepare them for selling. I leave my grandmother selling them. Sometimes I do not go to school.
At Advanced level, I want to study Commercial subjects. I wish to reach my goal in life that is Audit Accountant.”