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"Sista2Sista helped me get my life back on track"

23 August 2019
Vimbai Shumba is back to school thanks to the Sista2Sista club PHOTO:UNFPA Zimbabwe

Vimbai Shumba is 18 years old. When she failed her Ordinary Level (O’ Levels) exams in 2016, she thought her aspiration to go back to school and study again had reached a dead end. Her father had categorically told her that she had been playful resulting in her failing her exams.

Vimbai‘s parents told her that they did not have enough money for her education and she would have to stay at home helping with household chores so they could take her younger siblings to school. She was devastated.

“This broke me, because if my parents were not going to pay my school fees, who else would pay them,” Vimbai says. “My only desire was to go back to school to secure my future, however I was not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel.”

It was during this period, that she learnt about the Sista2Sista club and how they were helping young girls of her age. Vimbai immediately developed an interest and set on a journey to find out more on how she could be part of the initiative and how it could be of benefit to her.  

Sista2Sista are clubs  are run by mentors who work with girls aged between 10 – 24 to enable them to deal with life and its challenges.  Vimbai joined the club with 24 other young girls. Some of the sessions Vimbai went through include sexual and reproductive health, self-awareness and financial awareness.

“The financial awareness sessions were very important to me, the mentors taught about being business minded in order to be self-sustaining and it gave me a bright idea,” Vimbai says with a smile. 

Vimbai managed to convince her parents to give her $10 to start a small business. She started making samosas that she would sell to students at a school near her home.  Through the encouragement of Sista2Sista Club peers and from the proceeds of her small business, Vimbai managed to enroll herself back into school.

She went back to Form 3 in 2018 and is set to re-sit her O’ Level examinations this year (2019). Vimbai has not stopped making samosas and her desire is to be able to continue paying school fees for herself and her younger siblings.

Vimbai is one of the many girls whose lives have been touched by the Sista2Sista programme in Makonde District.

Vimbai is happy that she joined the Sista2Sista club and is proud of how she has used it to advance herself.  

“I am happy that I am back in school as I can now pay my own school fees and for my sister who is in Grade 7. My life is better than before. I now know that it is possible for other young girls to start income generating projects to sustain themselves and their families,” she says confidently.

“Our mentors told us that girls should be empowered financially and where possible, be able to look after themselves and their families. I wake up at 3am to make the samosas that I sell at school during breaks. I am also part of a club with other Sista2Sista girls where we take turns to borrow money from the club’s money investment project.” – Jesilyn Dendere