I’m leaving today to go out to the Oregon Country Fair, where I’ll be performing both West African dance as well as Zimbabwean music. As promised, I will be writing an update on Noleen’s situation next week, after the festival. In the meantime, though, I wanted to post another profile of one of Tariro’s newest students, Florence M.
Florence M. is a double orphan, having lost both her father and mother. She is currently enrolled in Form 1 at Highfield High School. Florence lives with her mother’s younger sister, who is a cross boarder trader. To make a small profit, Florence’s aunt travels to Malawi to buy rice for resale in Zimbabwe. In addition to caring for Florence, her aunt also cares for Florence’s three siblings, putting a huge financial pressure on her small income. Florence is originally from the rural area of Hwedza, where she grew up with her mother’s family. When her mother passed away, Florence moved to Harare to live wit her mother’s sister. Although Florence knows her father’s family she has never lived with them, and did not have a relationship with her father before he died.
Although her aunt wants Florence to attend school, she cannot afford to send all four of the orphaned children she is responsible for to school regularly. For this reason, Florence’s attendance at school has been erratic, and she still owes school fees for the previous year, in 2009. What is most impressive about Florence is her tenacity. When her aunt was unable to pay her school fees, she decided to continue studying from home, asking other students to bring her notes from class. Because of her determination, when she was able to return to school this term with sponsorship from Tariro, she was able to catch up quickly.
Florence would like to be a doctor. She believes Tariro has given her the chance to dream big again. I love being able to say that Tariro has made a difference in the lives of some of Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable girls. Thanks again for your support of our work with Florence and other girls in communities affected by HIV/AIDS.