Revathi graduated with distinction and at the top of her class at Christel House India—Bangalore. But her life growing up was not an easy path, as she shares her story of challenges and achievements.
I lost my mother when I was in Grade 8, and my brother was in Grade 5. My father is uneducated, and he has not taken any responsibility in bringing up his children. To add to my misfortunes, my grandparents attempted to arrange my marriage to avoid the responsibility of raising a teenage girl. On many days, my brother and I slept without eating dinner. We found it extremely difficult to cope with our father’s absence for long periods, his substance abuse and his total indifference to our well-being. Although I had everything going against me, I never gave up hope and fought for my right to continue my education.
The encouragement and support I received at Christel House was what kept me going year after year. I excelled in my studies, participated in cultural programs and won prizes in Olympiad competitions, quiz programs and debates.
I was also fortunate to receive a scholarship from the Adobe Youth Voices program. The scholarship will help me to study at Azim Premji University, one of the best universities in Karnataka, India.
My dream is to become a teacher. I enjoyed teaching my fellow students whenever they needed help. I believe that a teacher can transform the lives of many children. I will uphold the core values of Christel House – Respect, Responsibility, Independence and Integrity in my life. I will strive to become an excellent teacher and hope to one day earn the President’s Award for the best teacher in my country.
I express my immense gratitude to Adobe Youth Voices for giving me an opportunity to work on their projects and giving me the scholarship to pursue my studies. I can never thank my school and my teachers and Ms. Christel DeHaan enough, and I hope I will be able to give back to the community in the future.
Your support helps young girls at Christel House India, like Revathi, overcome challenges, continue their education and pursue their dreams. Thank you for making an investment in our future.
Odwa is a graduate of Christel House South Africa. He grew up in a hostel in Langa, living with his mother and four brothers. The home lacked necessary resources such as food and water. Odwa expresses his gratitude towards one of the hostel elders, who always ensured he had something to eat each day. Reflecting on his childhood, Odwa describes the elders’ actions as the true meaning of ‘Ubuntu,’ which means ‘human kindness’.
The feeling of Ubuntu continued to surround him from the time he joined Christel House in the fifth grade. Christel House became his family, where he felt a sense of belonging among his fellow students and teachers. At first, Odwa struggled with the English language, and at times his behavior was also in need of discipline. The support from his teachers helped him master the English language and develop a strong sense of self-esteem. Mr. Stern and Mr. Herdien are two teachers he remembers as his 'tough Uncles', who guided him along the way.
Today Odwa operates Ndibano Tours, a professional and community-based township tour business. He has earned a growing list of accomplishments, including a tourism degree and a qualified guide certificate for the metropolitan area of Cape Town, South Africa.
Odwa aspires to see ‘...South Africa unite—becoming one, embracing the true meaning of Ubuntu; becoming a true rainbow nation that doesn't have gaps. We all have a role to play to see change happen, and I believe I'm playing my role in the tours I am bringing people together.’
Your support is helping Christel House South Africa students, like Odwa, attend college, pursue a career and accomplish their dreams. Thank you for making an investment in our future.
Aiko (far right) is a graduate of Christel House Mexico. She attended Christel House for six years and is now part of the Christel House College & Careers program.
Aiko lives with her parents, sister, nephew and grandfather in Mexico City, Mexico. The family relies primarily on government funding for support. Her mother is disabled due to brain surgery and her father tries to pick up odd jobs when they become available, but his work is very inconsistent.
Aiko is currently in her second year at college studying tourism. Her dream is to one day start her own company. In the summer of 2015, she was selected through the College & Careers Program for a six-week internship in Arizona at International Cruise & Excursions (I.C.E., Inc.), a global leisure and travel company. Aiko said “this opportunity is helping me in my future.”
Your support helps young girls at Christel House Mexico, like Aiko, overcome challenges, continue their education and pursue their dreams. Thank you for making an investment in our future.