“My name is Nomakhosi, I am from Umguza District in Zimbabwe. I have one brother and one sister, and I am the last born in my family.
“I have come across many hardships in my life due to poverty. My parents tried very hard to provide for us, taking on piece work (casual labour) as they suffer from chronic illness and are unable to work full time. My aunt stepped in to help pay for my school fees when I was in primary school, and I studied very hard. I know that education is the key to success. It is a weapon to fight with and is sure to protect us against poverty.
"In 2015, when I reached Grade 7 (the last year of primary school) my aunt could no longer afford to support me alongside her own children, so I was forced to drop out. I was very sad, but I refused to give up hope.
“Everything changed in 2017 when I was visited at home by a CAMFED Association member named Blessing who lived nearby. She said if I wanted to return to school, CAMFED could pay for my fees and school supplies. I was overjoyed!
“CAMFED provided me with everything I needed for school including fees, books, uniform, and even a bicycle! The school was five miles away from my home so I had been waking up at 5am to walk there and returning home after 5pm. Since my parents are not well, it is my responsibility to fetch water, collect firewood, and cook dinner.
“With the long walk to school and early start, I did not have much time or energy to do my homework. Having a bicycle meant I could travel quickly and have more time to study in the evenings, which saw my grades improve.
“With my newfound confidence I started participating in study groups more, helping other students with the subjects I was best at. Because of my hard work at school, I was selected as a prefect!
“In 2018, I stepped in to help a friend who had written her primary leaving exams but had not made the transition to secondary school. I was worried about her, so I connected her with the School Based Committee so they could help. I was glad when she returned to school, because I know that education is not just a word, but it is also a right.
“I passed my leaving examinations in 2020 and joined the CAMFED Association of women leaders educated with CAMFED support, where I have been an active member ever since.
“At first, I was employed in a sewing workshop in town. Now, I have secured employment with an interior design company in Harare where my dreams are becoming a reality as I am learning a lot about sewing through my on-the-job training. I will soon be transferring from the Bulawayo Chapter of the CAMFED Association to the Harare one.
“With the money I make, I will keep buying stationery and books to give to students who can’t buy their own. I understand how hard it sometimes is to keep going, so I encourage them and tell them that if they concentrate and focus, they can pursue any careers of their choice. One can become a lawyer if you like, or even a doctor.
“I really enjoy sewing, and in the future I would like to improve my skills so I can support myself and others through my passion. With education I truly believe that the sky’s the limit!”
Support for Nomakhosi was made possible through UK Aid from the UK Government, including the FCDO’s Girls’ Education Challenge. Through the leadership of educated young women like Nomakhosi, we have developed a sustainable model through which community members join forces to provide girls with the wrap-around support they need to stay in school, learn, thrive, and become the next generation of leaders and change makers.