In today’s post, I’m writing to share another student profile. Fourteen years old, Morlene W. lives with her widowed mother in the township of Epworth. Located on the outskirts of Harare, Epworth is one of the poorest communities in urban Zimbabwe.
Morlene was enrolled in Tariro in mid-2011, after the headmaster at Domboramwari Secondary School introduced her to us. Throughout primary school, Morlene’s mother struggled to pay her school fees, and Morlene spent a significant amount of time out of school. Once she was enrolled at Domboramwari, Morlene’s mother would plead with the headmaster at the beginning of each term to allow Morlene to come to class, despite the fact that she could not afford to pay her fees. Because Morlene is one of the most academically talented students in her year, the headmaster allowed her to come to school, but continued to keep track of the amount of money Morlene’s mother owed in fees.
When the headmaster approached Tariro to assist Morlene, our program coordinator Tafadzwa asked what the school is doing to assist students like Morlene. In their conversation, the headmaster pointed out that more than 50% of his students are orphans and vulnerable children, and that the school requires the money generated by tuition revenues to pay for teacher salaries, upkeep of the grounds, and administration. His options were thus limited to allowing parents and guardians to come up with payment plans. Morlene’s mother was one of the parents who was trying to cover the costs of tuition through incremental payments, but she struggled to pay even the small sum of $5 US per month.
Morlene dreams of becoming a doctor when she finishes school, but as her mother struggled so hard to pay her fees, she did not have confidence that she would be able to complete the Ordinary and Advanced level studies necessary for enrollment in university. Now that she receives sponsorship from Tariro, however, she has increasing confidence that her dreams may become reality!
As Morlene’s mother has observed, Tariro’s educational sponsorships not only enable orphaned and vulnerable girls to work toward their futures, but also some level of normalcy in the present for young women who have gone through extremely difficult times. Thank you for joining us in support of our mission to educate and empower orphaned and vulnerable girls like Morlene!