In today’s post, I’d like to revisit the story of Pride R., a student whom I mentioned several weeks ago, in a post about Tariro prize-winners. Currently finishing her first year of high school at Domboramwari Secondary School in Epworth, Pride was enrolled in Tariro early this year. Her story is a powerful example of how Tariro’s school sponsorship program is giving educational opportunities to girls who would otherwise be unable to finish high school.
I’m going to share two versions of Pride’s story with you. The first is an assessment from Tariro’s program coordinator Fadzi, who observes that Pride had not attended school for two year before receiving assistance from Tariro. Because of the family’s socio-economic situation, Fadzi suggests that Pride is even more vulnerable than many other Tariro students, making her a good candidate for boarding school. Here is Fadzi’s assessment:
Pride lives with her father and stepmother who are unable to fund her education. Despite having both parents, Pride is very vulnerable. After her father remarried, things changed at home, as she now had two more siblings and her father was struggling to provide food and school fees. Pride lost a sibling earlier this year, because the family did not have the funds for the required medical attention. They still owe Harare hospital for medical bills, even though their child was never adequately treated.
Pride’s father was mentoring her from home in 2008 and 2009. The family did not have funds to complete primary school, but the teachers at Chinamano school paid for her so she could write her primary exams. She never registered for high school as she knew the family would not be able to fund any education. Pride’s primary school teachers made contact with school, and told them about her home situation. Domboramwari then admitted Pride, and put her on the government scholarship waitlist.
Throughout primary school, Pride came first in her classes. She describes herself as an obedient and honest young woman. Her teachers believe she is one of the best students, and she came highly recommended for the Tariro Scholar Program.
This year, Pride came first in her form 1 class despite the many challenges at home and won another prize for being the most well- behaved student in her cohort. She would be an ideal candidate for boarding school, so that she is away from home for the duration of the school term.
Re-reading Fadzi’s version of Pride’s history, I found them especially striking in comparison to the story Pride herself told in her Hero Book, made with Lauri Benblatt at this year’s empowerment camp. In her Hero Book, Pride focuses on having overcome the most significant obstacles following the death of her mother. Omitting any mention of her sibling who passed away, Pride describes herself as “living a happy life” and looking forward to the future.
Here is an excerpt from Pride’s Hero Book:
11 years ago when I was 3 years my mother died and left me alone. At that time I didn’t know what is death, my father lied to me that my mother had gone to our rural home. I kept on asking him,” will she return?” and he always said “she will.” I was taken to my mother’s sister in Mutoko. After 1 year I started going to crèche. I then returned to Epworth to live with my father. I started my grade 1 when I was six years old. We lived a very hard life. I’m now 15 years old so I thank God who guided me for all these years. I’m now doing my form 1 and I wish to excel on my O level and go to form 5-6. I want to be an accountant or a pharmacist. I am good in computers, geography and history.
I’m now living in Epworth and I’m learning at Domboramwari High School. I’m living with my father and stepmother and two little step sisters. I’m living a happy life with those sisters of the Tariro organization. We usually go on camps where we share our ideas with others and taught lessons including the facts of life. I’m looking forward for a happy life and a glittering career.
Pride’s Hero Book demonstrates how despite the many problems she faces at home, Tariro’s support has enabled her to envision a new future, and to work toward success. Tariro is proud to work with students such as Pride, who have both outstanding academic potential, as well as exceptional financial need. As we draw toward the end of the year, we’re asking you to join us in ensuring that we can continue to support Pride, and all of our other sponsored students, in 2011!