Sumaiya’s parents wanted to withdraw her from Christel House when she was in the 8th grade. As conservative Muslims, they felt further study was unnecessary, and that she should marry and follow the expectations of her family. But Sumaiya had her own hopes and dreams. With help from the Christel House social worker, Sumaiya convinced her parents to allow her to remain in school. She was determined to study and work, in spite of opposition from relatives. “My grit, determination, interest and commitment towards my studies made my parents realize how important it was to me,” she says.
Respect and admiration for her Christel House teachers led Sumaiya to choose teaching as a career path. She wanted to pass along the gift of knowledge to others. The teaching profession is respected within her community, and enabled Sumaiya to balance religious and family expectations with a career she knows will truly make her happy. She writes, “I am following a traditional pathway, but never letting tradition become a barrier to fulfilling my dream.”
Today, Sumaiya works at St. Paul’s School in Bangalore, and continues to pursue her teaching credentials. “In my community, everyone was against me and my family relating to my decision to study further,” she writes. “My relatives advised my family to stop my studies. They thought a girl should get married and serve her in-laws by being at home. But now that I have persevered, they are proud, and all my cousins have joined colleges and are pursuing their studies.” Your support of ‘Educate an Indian Girl-Child from the Slums’ is helping young girls and women, like Sumaiya, reach their full potential. Thank you for helping these students get the education they need for a brighter future.
Cheri grew up in a low-income neighborhood in the inner-city of Indianapolis, but she never let circumstances stand in her way. Going to college was always her dream which is why she chose Christel House Academy South. Her teachers described her as “hard working…putting in 100% effort every day.”
In 2014, Cheri graduated from Christel House Academy South as the valedictorian of her class. After graduation, she enrolled with distinction at the University of Indianapolis to pursue a degree in criminal justice. She was quickly inducted into the Honor’s College at UIndy.
When asked how her time at Christel House prepared her for college, she said, "I learned to be a leader at Christel House. We didn't just get told what to do, we were expected to figure things out and create the experiences we wanted.”
Christel House’s support of Cheri continues through the College and Career Program and her path looks bright. “I am looking forward to watching her footprints on the future,” her former teacher shares.
Your support of ‘Help Inner City Youth Visit and Apply for College’ is helping students like Cheri overcome obstacles and continue their education. Thank you for helping our students pursue their dreams.
Born in the Cape Town township of Langa to a single mother, Sihle is the youngest of four siblings. “My mom is my role model. She raised four children single-handedly. She has a strong will and stayed positive under tough circumstances, shielding us from the social ills in my community. She is my source of inspiration to do my utmost best and she is the story behind my hard work and perseverance.”
When Sihle enrolled at Christel House South Africa in second grade, she spoke only Xhosa. But today, she has a powerful command of the English language and a clear vision for her future, as evidenced by her own words.
“I started off as an English interpreter for other Xhosa learners. Then I taught basic English to my mom and siblings—and even some neighbors in Langa. At Cape Peninsula of Technology, where I am currently studying Events Management, I am sometimes asked to be a motivational speaker and to emcee events.”
“Ultimately, I want to establish my own events management company and develop my personal brand. I want to share my success story with the world. My mom, my biological family and Christel House will be on my giving-back list.”
Your support of ‘Help South African H.S. Grads Attend College’ is helping students like Sihle overcome obstacles and continue their education. Thank you for helping our students pursue their dreams.