In this week’s post, I’d like to introduce Mercy and Melissa, two sisters sponsored by Tariro. Mercy and Melissa lost both of their parents to AIDS-related illness in 2004, and currently live with their mother’s elder sister.
Exceptionally talented academically, both Mercy and Melissa passed entrance exams at Makumbe Visitation, a boarding school located just outside Harare. Tariro’s small size and flexibility enables us to accommodate the needs of gifted and talented students such as Mercy and Melissa, who are benefiting from this chance to obtain a truly outstanding education through Tariro. By working with young women who have outstanding potential, Tariro empowers young women to become future leaders, encouraging them to contribute back to their communities.
Melissa, who is in Form 2, enjoys accounts and science in school. She plays basketball, and is on the school team. She dreams of going to university after finishing high school. Her younger sister, Mercy, is in Form 1. She enjoys singing, and hopes to join the school choir. She enjoys all her of subjects, and recently received two prizes for being the best student in her year in agriculture and Shona. Mercy hopes to be an accountant when she grows up.
In addition to caring for Mercy and Melissa, their aunt also cares for another orphaned child, her brother’s daughter. Overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for three orphaned children in addition to her own family, Mercy and Melissa’s aunt depends on Tariro’s support to keep Mercy and Melissa in school. The story of these two sisters illustrates the huge burden faced by families affected by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, and the importance of providing assistance for families caring for orphaned children. As we approach World AIDS Day on December 1st, I encourage all readers to think about how we can connect with and support communities deeply affected by HIV/AIDS, including the communities that Tariro works with in Zimbabwe.
Tariro’s sponsorship of Mercy and Melissa has been made possible by an amazing group of women from Santa Fe. In the coming weeks, I will be posting more information on how these women connected with Tariro, and with these two sisters, as well as links and information about World AIDS Day. Please revisit our blog on World AIDS Day, which is December 1st, for the next post!