In 2015, Fredrik Eklund and Derek Kaplan generously sponsored 55 students, funding their high school fees and enabling them to complete their education.
Chipo Yotamu is one of those students. Here’s how it has changed her life.
Chipo is a smart and fiercely determined 16 year old. In fact, her teachers once said she was one of the most intellectually gifted and hardworking girls in the entire school.
But this drive to succeed doesn’t always go very far in the poverty-stricken, arid regions of rural Zimbabwe. Before Fredrik and Derek’s funding, Chipo had been forced to miss two years of school. Despite her talent and intelligence, her future once looked hopeless.
At home, Chipo carries more responsibility than any 16 year old should ever have to. She lives with her elderly grandmother and her mentally ill mother who is a single parent. Both are unable to work, and require a lot of care. Every day, the family must struggle with acquiring enough food just to keep them going. Her grandmother often has to set out in the scorching heat to find food for them. When her granny is away, Chipo must stay at home to study while also looking after her sick mother, who disappears whenever she is left unattended. It is such an incredibly huge burden for a young girl to have to carry, and she dreads the day her grandmother will leave this earth.
It is because of this incredibly financial struggle that Chipo has fallen behind in her education. Her primary school years were once sponsored by UNICEF, who saw the potential Chipo had. However most of that funding has now come to an end.
Yet Chipo remains desperate to learn. She understands that only through education will she be able to support her mother in the future, and create a better life for the two of them. Today, thanks to Fredrik and Derek’s incredible support, Chipo is back in school and working as hard as ever. She is now in Form 2 (the second year of high school), in a class made up of children much younger then her. Although she is impatient to catch up, Chipo is progressing well and her teachers have no doubt that her determination will now finally pay off.
Chipo’s future has been changed for the better. But there are still thousands more children who are forced to leave behind their education for a life of poverty and struggle. It costs just £30 to put a child through an entire year of school in Zimbabwe. Whose life will you change?