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Jan 15, 2015

Rhoda: Overcoming Struggles

Rhoda
Rhoda

In 2011, Rhoda qualified for acceptance to two of the best private high schools in southern Malawi. However, as the eldest of four children, her father deceased, and her mother suffering from HIV/AIDS, Rhoda could not find support for her education from anyone in her community and turned to EKARI Foundation. Although Rhoda’s mother has since died, with support from EKARI since 2011 Rhoda is succeeding in high school and hopes to pursue a degree in the medical field.

Rhoda placed in the top of her class during her first two years of high school, but struggled during her third year due to advanced course content and negative outside influences from her community. Elias, EKARI's In-Country Director, noticed a change in Rhoda and encouraged her to work hard and take advantage of the 1:1 attention during EKARI's small group tutoring sessions. Rhoda did just that and is currently in her last year of high school and is back on track and performing well!

EKARI's students often face negative peer pressure when they are at home. In addition, community members often question the importance of our students education (EKARI is currently working to assist in changing this mindset!). Rhoda struggles greatly with this. Moreover, a majority of our students eat only one meal a day when they are at home. Fortunately, Rhoda and all students who participate in our Tutoring Program stay in EKARI's home during their school breaks so that they do not have to face this negative peer pressure and can receive proper nutrition through our 3 Meals a Day Program.     

Rhoda and 24 fellow high school students supported by EKARI Foundation participated in our December tutoring session, which lasted for two weeks. Elias maintained a very strict weekday schedule for our students: studies 4:30am – 6am; breakfast 7am; class 8am – 12:30pm; lunch 1pm; studies 2pm to 4pm; supper 7pm; studies 8pm – 10pm! Although our students are on a break from school, they highly appreciate the opportunity to study in small groups with local teachers and with their peers. They only complained a minimal amount about the strict schedule! They are teenagers after all! 

During the December holiday break, these students also received mentoring and career coaching from ‎Students for Liberty, a Malawi youth-run nonprofit organization! This the second year that EKARI has partnered with Students for Liberty. The workshop took place during our ‎Tutoring Program sessions. Students for Liberty representatives informed EKARI's students about career opportunities, goal setting, Malawi universities that have specific areas of study, university entry requirements, and which subjects to focus on in high school in order to meet specific goals. Students for Liberty informed our students that not enough jobs are being created in Malawi to keep up with the pace of university graduates - only 2000 jobs are created for over 20,000 university graduates each year. Under Students for Liberty's supervision, our students broke into small groups to brainstorm about challenges within their communities and possible entrepreneurship opportunities that could help to solve those challenges. Rhoda's group came up with the idea to start a private hospital due to the lack of healthcare facilities in the area. 

Rhoda and her fellow students are now back in school and building upon the knowledge they gained in December! 

Study Time
Study Time
Tutoring Session
Tutoring Session
Sharing Ideas During Career Coaching
Sharing Ideas During Career Coaching

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