Like many of our students, Kristen’s early childhood education was interrupted by deprivation and family obligations. Even at a young age, she was burdened with looking after her younger siblings and trying to help her family survive.
When she began attending Christel House, Kristen struggled with scars of anger and frustration from her childhood. For her, Christel House quickly became a place of hope and healing.
“The teachers and other kids were very kind, like family,” Kristen reflects. “At this school, I learned how to deal with what I had been feeling.”
While attending Christel House, Kristen was introduced to fencing. She used the sport as a method to channel her frustration and overcome her past. She flourished and competed nationally and internationally.
After graduating from Christel House in 2010, she began a Bachelor’s degree in Sports, Recreation and Exercise Science at the University of the Western Cape. She put her studies on hold temporarily to participate in a professional coaching course in Dakar, Senegal. She is now a “Master Coach in Arms” and one of only four fencing coaches in South Africa. She is also certified by the Fencing Federation to coach anywhere in the world.
“My aim is to develop sport, specifically fencing, in my own country,” Kristen says proudly. “I’m going to share what I’ve learned and make a real difference.”
Padmini Kashi (class of 2012)
More often than not, Padmini lacked basic necessities growing up. Her father’s job as a driver provided a meager source of income to support Padmini, her mother who suffers from a long-term illness, and two other family members. If not for Christel House, she faced an uncertain future.
At Christel House India, Padmini experienced a whole new world. She received two nutritious meals each day, emotional and psychological support, health care, and an educational environment that helped her learn and grow. Throughout her years at Christel House India, Padmini was an extremely dedicated student and set high expectations for herself, including pursuing higher education after graduation.
She passed her grade 10 state exam with flying colors and determined to study commerce during her final two years of high school. Through her hard work and commitment, Padmini graduated from Christel House India in 2012 near the top of her class. She was one of 9 students (out of 80 who applied) to receive a generous scholarship from Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development and is studying Tourism at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. Padmini will have the opportunity to join the staff of Oberoi upon her university graduation.
We are very proud of Padmini as she pursues and realizes her dreams!
“Everyday I see so many girls my age walking around with no vision and no dreams,” writes Chandne, who is determined that she will not be one of them. At the age of eight, Chadne told her mother, “I never want to struggle like you.” True to her word, she became Christel House South Africa’s 2011 top-achieving graduate and walked away with the school’s top honor, a Christel Award. “Sometimes I just can’t believe how much I have achieved despite my background and circumstances.”
After her graduation, Chadne began studying civil engineering at Sutherland Civil Engineering. Based on performance, she will receive a bursary to assist Chadne financially while she continues her education at a university.
Chadne’s story is just one in a multitude of success stories from this year’s CHSA graduating class. This year, like the past three years, 100% of Christel House South Africa’s students passed their Matriculation exam, a graduation exam given to South African seniors. But they didn’t just pass - 70.8% achieved a “bachelor’s pass” distinction, and more than half had results good enough to secure bursaries or scholarships. Compared to South Africa’s national pass rate of 70.2% and the national bachelor’s pass rate of 24.3%, these results are outstanding.
“I can remember my first day at Christel House,” Chadne reminisces. “It was the best day ever. The teachers welcomed us with so much warmth and understanding. At CHSA I’ve learned to be a strong, positive leader. I know it’s up to me to be responsible. When people try to break my spirit with words or negative actions, I can hold my head up high. I am a strong, focused and goal-oriented person. I know what I want to accomplish in life.”