Over the years we have invested in many bright young leaders, both men and women. Their stories show how resilience, persistence, self efficacy, hard work and commitment to their goals has allowed them to make the most of the opportunities presented to them despite their pressing circumstances. In late 2015 one of our scholars Hellen graduated with honours from the University of Zimbabwe and is now a qualified medical doctor. In 2012, when she first received her scholarship, she expressed what she hoped to achieve in the future. “I want to further my studies by doing a Master in Public health” she said. “I believe I would be of great benefit to my community. I wish to see health education transcend to all sectors of the community”. Hellen truly believes that the development of a community is centred around health of its members. She is passionate about community health, and improving healthcare at grassroots levels. She is now many steps closer to her dream. Here is her story:
“It was at that point when it seemed like there was no light at the end of a tunnel. We were three children in the family and they were all going to school. I being the eldest and had ventured into a journey towards the noble profession. The second child was in college and the youngest was in high school. Our father had [stopped working] when I started Form 1 (secondary school). Our mother had worked to sustain the family with a small chicken project. For years it had worked, but as we progressed with our education the fees got higher and unmanageable. On that fateful day I woke up to a loud scream and it was our mother. We wondered what had happened and we rushed to where she was. We were all dazzled as we envisioned what had made her scream. There were no chickens in the fowl run. What was left was blood and the chicken heads. That was our source of livelihood that had come to a premature death. We sat there in silence as we wondered what was going to happen next. No one said anything as we knew we had reached a dead end.
I was in microbiology lecture when they told me that I was needed at the Academic Registrar’s Office. What had I done? Was I going to be chased away from college due to non-payment? All these questions were going through my head as I headed towards the office. To my amazement there were forms to be signed. I was selected to be a beneficiary of a scholarship. How did they have my name? Only God knows.
I proceeded to do the paperwork and I was told within a few weeks I had qualified to be beneficiary of this scholarship program. This was like a dream. The package was complete. It was full tuition fee and accommodation fee and on top of that was a substantial allowance.
Was I dreaming? No, this was really happening. From all the hassles of waking up early travelling [for hours] to school and sleeping late after the very long travel from school, I was to move into University Residence. I had no worries about, tuition as it was guaranteed. As a lady, I needed to have a few accessories, stationary for my studies [and transport money]. This was also provided in the allowance.
This was the African Dream Benefit Scholarship. I was so humbled to be one of the first university beneficiaries. This made a huge turn around on my journey through medical school. I had enough time to rest for group discussions too. I had an allowance for my needs, transport [and upkeep] and I didn’t have to stress. Many young girls at university who do not have money for their upkeep, transport and extra costs of study resort to looking for sugar daddies to look after them. I finished my course without supplementing because all my worries were catered for and all I was thinking about was my studies. I excelled in my grades. I got 2.1 honors in all my courses.
Today I am humbled and truly grateful to be a qualified medical doctor. Doctor Hellen Takudzwa Manyau. All because of the African Dream Benefit my dream is to send more children who are in the same position as I was to school and deliver health to all.”
To find out how you can support our scholarship program, become a monthly donor for $20 per/month to send a future leader to university by clicking here .