You can be anything you dream of

“My name is Nomathemba Mthembu. I lost both my parents on the same day and my world crashed in front of me. My parents loved me and gave me security and they never treated me less because I am a girl. The loss was unbearable. To make matters worse, people, even relatives, came in and took away all of my parents resources leaving me without support.

Like so many orphans, I moved from homestead to homestead trying to stay in school. I became so depressed. I tried to hang myself once, took  pills another time and tried to commit suicide four times!  It still is amazing that I didn’t succeed. I got angry.

I was fortunate as a girl child to have parents who wanted me to have an education. My dream was to become a doctor. I remember the day the principal of the school I was attending saw me waiting at the end of the orphan line for help. He looked at me and said “You’re useless!” I made up my mind I would never stand in an orphan line again.

I dropped out of school in Form 3 and did domestic work to support myself and my grandmother until staying at home became unbearable. Eventually I got back into Nkhaba High School where the Principal, Richard Matsenjwa, treated me like a daughter. He saw how I was struggling and helped me in every way he could. I called him, ‘Dad’.

I graduated first in my class just as Miss Carole Evans from SOHO was setting up a program to enable Swazi students to talk to American students in Indiana.  SOHO took an interest in me, helping me set up my little apartment when I got into college on a scholarship. They worked with me all the way through my Bachelor’s program.

Whatever choice you make, you will be supported. In my case, guardian angels from SOHO went above and beyond in offering me their support.

If you can ‘see’ yourself doing something, you can accomplish that. You are never too old to go back to school and to start over.

After graduating, I had a difficult experience that threatened all the dreams I had for myself. SOHO provided support and saw me through. I have just earned a Masters Degree in Biology and serve as a teacher. SOHO sponsored my daughter through pre-school while I worked to further my education. I thank God for SOHO and do my best to give back by volunteering when I can.”

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