Young-adults who have passed their secondary exams and have the intellect and ambition to continue their studies join Zienzele's family of Post-Secondary Student's. These students' tuition are one of the greatest financial responsibilities of The Zienzele Foundation but their passion to learn is impossible to ignore. These are their stories.
Tendai spent the first seven years of her life living with her two parents until 2002 when her father passed away. Her mother later died in 2009 when Tendai was in 7th grade and her brother Julius was in 1st grade. Tendai's older brother, Livious, left the family when he was 30 years old and returned once in 2013 to give Tendai his daughter Faith, telling Tendai he did not have the resources to support her. However, Tendai had very scare resources as well. With both her parents dead she had no money for food, clothing, or school tuition.
Tendai found Zienzele when she was in 5th grade and she says "I want to give thanks to Zienzele because without them I would not be able to go to school... Without Zienzele, I would not be happy, I would not be a woman, I would not be a human being... I thank Zienzele for giving me the potential to forget about the bad times so that now I can be happy."
Julius and Faith consider Tendai to be their sister, mother, and father.While she is still responsible for her younger siblings, Tendai is currently studying to get her teaching certificate and hopes to go on to achieve her diploma in early childhood development and one day teach in primary school.
When Keith was in second grade he saw Nancy and Prisca gathering all the Zienzele students underneath a tree. Keith decided to join the group to find out what was going on. At the time he didn't know what Zienzele was but when he found his name missing from their list he raised his hand saying "you missed me." After a few questions about his family, Keith was added to the list and became a part of The Zienzele Foundation.
Keith never met his father and only lived with his mother for the first years of his life. His mother remarried when Keith was just two years old, left Keith with his grandmother, and passed away just one year later.
When Keith was fourteen he was sent to live with his aunt. At the time, Zimbabwe was in an economic depression so families were especially tense. Keith often feared his aunt's punishments, would wake up crying in the middle of the night, and could not focus on school. He ended up failing his Form 4 exam but Zienzele encouraged him to try again.
Keith is now in his fourth year of University and will be awarded his Masters degree in Financial Law this year.
When I recorded Rodwell as a 22 her old boy during his interview, he responded "I am not a boy, I am a gentleman." He grew up with his mother until 2002 when she passed away and his father later died in 2004 after being robbed in South Africa. He was living with his grandmother in 2014 when she passed away and now he stays with his grandfather when he is not in school.Rodwell passed his secondary school exams on the first try and is now studying at Great Zimbabwe University as an Economics and Finance Major.
Upenyu has lived with his grandmother since the death of both of his parents. His grandmother is also the caregiver for eight other children. Because of this lack of support, Upenyu gave up hope for success in Zimbabwe and left for South Africa to try and find a job. However, after realizing there was no more opportunity in South Africa than there is in Zimbabwe he returned home. Back in Zimbabwe he was sitting at home with no work and no money to pay school fees to return to school. Zienzele had supported him before he left for SA and once they learned that he had returned home, they offered to continue supporting his education. Upenyu is extremely bright and quickly transferred to Berejena because his former secondary school was not advanced enough for him. He hopes to study finance and insurance at Great Zimbabwe University.
Both of Petronella's parents have passed away and she now lives with her elderly grandmother and her two younger siblings. She has always been extremely smart and enthusiastic about school and is about to finish form 6 in secondary school. Petronella used to stuggle significantly with mathematics but after Zienzele helped the Berejena students set up a study group she is now doing much better. She hopes to go to the National University of Science and Technology as a business major.
Calvin has grown up with his aunt since his parents both died when he was at a very young age. Calvin's aunt struggled to put him through secondary school when Calvin got into Great Zimbabwe University she approached Zienzele again because she could not afford his college tuition. Calvin’s aunt weaves baskets for Zienzele and in turn Zienzele pays a portion of his college tuition, however, it is still a struggle to make up the rest of his tuition. Calvin wants to do social work for a non-governmental organization, and he hopes to help children with similar backgrounds as himself.
Both Tonderai's parents passed away when he was in second grade. He now lives with his grandmother who is extremely kind and loving toward him. He was at Arch Munaka until he realized that the school could not keep up with his tenacity to learn so he approached Zienzele and asked if he could transfer. He he is now much happier. Math comes naturally to Tonderai, who played a leading role in a study group at his school to help the other students improve their math skills. Tonderai hopes to attend the University of Zimbabwe as a finance major.
Vimbai and her sister Nyaradzai were raised by relatives after the death of both their parents. Vimbai was born healthy but Nyaradzai was born HIV positive. Nyaradzai was later put on ARVs but, under the care of her aunt and uncle, she was not able to take then consistently, and consequently became very ill and later died. Her sister’s death devastated Vimbai who stayed in her uncle's home and attended Berejena High with her cousin. Her cousin later became pregnant and Vimbai's aunt and uncle blamed Vimbai for her cousin's pregnancy. Vimbai was kicked out of their home. She is currently studying at Berenjena High School and lives in Harare during holidays with her mother's sister.