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A Gift That Can’t Be Taken Away

Posted on 5/1/2018 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

Our support for children in Zimbabwe and Zambia starts as early as primary school—and, for the most ambitious and promising students, continues on to college.

In addition to building and renovating schools, providing supplies, and improving health and sanitation systems, Grand Circle Foundation supports scholarships for promising students in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Many of these students walk miles every day, barefoot and without breakfast, to attend and complete primary and secondary school. They are role models for their younger siblings and other children in their communities, who now also hope to earn a scholarship and continue their educations.

Several of the students who have now graduated from secondary school are volunteer teaching in their primary schools. Others, like the two you’re about to meet, have gone on to college—a rare opportunity for young people in rural Africa. Sue Goatley, a Grand Circle Foundation Project Manager and Program Coordinator for Wilderness Safaris, our longtime partner in southern Africa, asked two of our supported students to share their inspiring stories—which were written in part by the generosity of our travelers.

Meet Grace Ndlovu

Gender: Female

Age: 22 years

Home country: Zimbabwe

Field of study: Diploma in Education (Primary Education)

Year of enrollment: September 2016

How would you describe your college experience?

My experience at college has been a lot of fun, especially during the first two terms because we focused on assignments—I just loved the pressure. In the third term, which was May 2017, we went out for teaching practice and oh what a load of work. I have ten record books to complete but fortunately I have a very good mentor.

How has this opportunity impacted your life?

I have been given a great opportunity, which has encouraged me to work harder so that I can go back to the community and be the light to the younger children. I will be able to encourage them to strive for excellence so that they too can be successful one day. I have learnt that being from a poor village or home doesn't mean you have no future: the Grand Circle Foundation scholarship provided a way.

What does the scholarship mean to you?

I am very, very thankful to Grand Circle Foundation because this scholarship has taken me this far already. I never thought I would ever go to college or university because the situation at home seemed hopeless but the Foundation provided the hope and lit the way. Now I will do all I can to soar high and through teaching I will pay it forward.

Why did you choose the program you are studying?

I chose teaching because I developed a passion for children when I got employed at Ziga Primary as a temporary teacher. I felt the need to encourage these children, to guide them through their schooling to become the best they could be. I thought of the children as my siblings so I was eager to help—that's why I applied to a teaching college, so I can be better equipped to teach these young people.

What would you advise younger students who get the scholarship opportunity?

I would advise younger students who are blessed to get a scholarship to grasp the opportunity with both hands, aim high, give it their best, and work hard to achieve their goals—and then help their immediate communities as a way of giving back and giving others hope.

What are your hopes for your community in the future?

I wish for a pro-education community. As a community, I feel we can achieve more with an educated youth.

Meet Culture Tshuma

Gender: Male

Age: 22 years

Home country: Zimbabwe

Field of study: Honors Degree in Accounting

Year of enrollment: 2016

How would you describe your college experience?

My experience at college has been outstanding. Even though there have been challenges, I have managed to overcome them. Accounting is not as easy as I had thought, it requires effort to master and understand concepts and procedures. In short, I can say it is taxing to take on higher education but it is really worth it.

How has this opportunity impacted your life?

I have always dreamed and wished for a positive opportunity to impact my life. Grand Circle Foundation provided me with that, first with my schooling but now the chance to learn at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). It has given me self-confidence and a sense of direction. A higher learning experience has exposed me to the business world. I have an open mind and am excited for the future.

What does the scholarship mean to you?

To me, a scholarship is a most wonderful gift that aims to uplift those who are unable to afford further education but are eager and keen to learn—thus opening and creating grand opportunities for the recipients. It must never be undervalued, as education is a gift that can never be taken away from you.

Why did you choose the program you are studying?

I chose Accounting because I wanted to understand the corporate world as a whole, since I have always aspired to have my own businesses. Given my background, I couldn't even picture what it was like to be in business, but thanks to the scholarship I am now able to weigh a list of options. Secondly, I chose this program because I always loved numbers and calculations. Analyzing accounting information feels real and interesting to me, as I am passionate about accounting.

What would you advise younger students who get the scholarship opportunity?

A scholarship is a rare and wonderful opportunity: one cannot receive a better gift. I would advise younger students to seize the chance when it comes their way and then to embrace all the dedication and hard work that it entails. It is always crucial for the students to do their part so that there won't be wastage of resources and time. No matter how clever you are, if you don’t try, and work hard you will not succeed so pull out the stops and this will open the gates to success

What are your hopes for your community in the future?

I am hoping for a lot of things for my community in the future. Firstly, I wish to see the secondary school students improving on their performances at school. Secondly, I wish youngsters would concentrate more on building their future rather than engaging in early marriages and dropping out from school.

Meet inspiring young people supported by Grand Circle Foundation when you visit a local school during Ultimate Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe & Zambia Safari.

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