Thandiwa Mbewe is a new scholar at Mulunguzi Secondary School. She’s been in AGE Africa programs for a year now, and the year has flown by!

Right now, Thandiwe is in her second year of boarding school, which can be both a blessing and a curse for a girl child. Boarding schools are known for their higher quality education, their better learning environment…and their high school fees. For many families, having a girl selected to boarding school either means the girl doesn’t go to school, the girl goes to school without fees and is chased away, or the girl is made to go to a lower tier school.

Thandiwe was relieved when her parents suggested she go to school without fees, though she knew it wasn’t a long term solution. She was sure they would tell her to stay home where “some boys tell me that I should have relations with them, and when I refuse them, sometimes they beat me.” At Mulunguzi, boys and girls are treated more equally, and despite her parents support Thandiwe came VERY close to going back to the danger she found in the village.

AGE Africa had already selected new students at Mulunguzi when Thandiwe was being chased and came forward with her situation. Upon hearing about her, a Mulunguzi student we had just selected into our stepped down. In a show of responsible citizenship and compassion, she told us “No. Not me. There is another student who is more needy,” and introduced is to her friend Thandiwe. The friendship and support between these girls drives motivates us every day!

Now that she is in school, safer, and making strides in her academic career, Thandiwe is determined to give back to her community and be a responsible citizen like her friend. When she finishes secondary school, she hopes to get into university to become a lawyer helping those who have been victims of crimes. We’re sure that in the next three years, she can learn enough to achieve her goals!