Sophia Lebohang Chakela is celebrating her victory after enduring many trials
This story was sent in by Sophia Chakela who graduated with a Diploma in Human Resource Management.
I finished my matric in 2009 and I didn’t have the registration fee for tertiary education. I had to stay home and look for a job so that I could save because my aunt was not working and she could barely provide for me and my son.
In 2011 I started working at Stats SA as a field worker. I earned good money which I used to pay for my registration. I didn’t know anything about NSFAS then. I started studying at VUT in 2012 and stayed in Sharpeville – as it is my home town. I used to walk to campus every day. Sometimes I had to skip classes because I would have a class at 8am that ended at 10am and then have another class at 3pm. It was hard for me to stay on campus till the afternoon without anything to eat since the morning.
I failed my first year because of missing classes.
In 2013, I repeated first year and in September 2014 my uncle passed on. It was during semester tests and I failed some modules, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.
In 2015, I came back to register only to find that I was blocked and had to pay 25% of my debt. I didn’t have it. It was painful because at home no one was working and I couldn’t afford to pay. I had to take another gap year, but I told myself that I would not give up.
I submitted my CV so that I could find a job and pay that money. Because God has plans for our lives, I got permanent employment at Mr Price. I came back to VUT in 2016. I registered part-time because I had a permanent job and I could study and provide for my family at the same time. I told myself that nothing beats determination in life. I have to push and push hard. I passed all my modules, even though I was attending classes while I was still tired from work.
In 2017 I was left with one module and I did well.
Today, 12 September, I am graduating and I am proud of myself. No one believed in me because I had a child at an early age.
I wish that all the youth out there, especially teenage mothers, would realise that a child is not a burden in their lives. If they want to be successful they can be, regardless of the situation at home.