My name is Sithabisiwe Ngwenya, and l was born March 28, 1993. I’m one of six siblings – although the youngest passed away when she was just 11 months old.
I grew up in a middle-class environment until I was 10 years old, when my father died. Shortly after, my mother lost her job. Unable to pay rent or buy basics, she moved us to her sister’s house. Life still wasn’t easy. I went to school in torn uniforms and had only two sets of clothes. We only had one menu in our house, sadza and kale, for lunch and supper; we never had breakfast.
Graduation and degrees
EducationDiploma in Counselling
In 2005, my two little brothers and I joined Zimkids Orphan Trust. The organization changed our lives. Meeting and spending time with other kids in my same situation made me see that l’m wasn’t the only child who experienced traumatic moments. There l also met my a true friend. We made dolls together, talked about everything and had a lot of fun. She would plait my hair sometimes during the program under a guava tree.
Everything became better when Zimkids started monthly food distribution. The food packages of mealie-meal, oil, chicken, beans, vegetables saved us. The organization also paid school fees and bought us stationery. We all said Dennis was a God sent indeed.
We also had fun, with performing arts and other activities. The best moment of my life was in 2006 when we went on a trip to Victoria Falls. It was my first time there and l enjoyed every single second.
In 2009 l sat my Ordinary level examinations and didn’t do well because my mother had started falling sick and I had to take over her role, cooking for my her and brothers, selling vegetables at the shops. I had to wake up at 5 am and walk about 10km to get vegetables to sell.
In September 2010, my mother passed and my world crumbled. I felt alone. I lost weight and began having headaches. The aunt we were staying with made my life even worse, quarreling with me and accusing me of being useless, words that are still a knife in my heart. But I had to stay strong for my brothers.
Zimkids again came to rescue. In 2011 we started building what became the Zimkids Center; l was the only girl on the crew. It was tough and fun as I gained new skills, building, plastering, welding and paving. During the year we worked, l found peace in sharing my feelings with the guys l was with.
In 2013 Zimkids sent me to study Counselling and I gain a certificate to practice. In 2015, the organization paid my fees for an Early Childhood Development course, fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher, in the Zimkids Pe-School.
Although l’ve been through terrible times, l never did drugs; Zimkids kept me away from all that. l have gained the respect of my peers, family and friends. I’ve restored my relationship with my aunt, taken care of my brothers and become a role model to the young girls at Zimkids, who learn from me not to give up when you face hard situations, to remain humble. never to be forced into early marriage, never give up. I’m an independent young woman. l feel wealthy and welcomed.