The high rates of school dropouts in Zimbabwe are highly attributable to poverty, early teenage pregnancy, and orphanhood, among other determinants. The consequences of dropping out from school remain severe as most of the dropouts fail to land descent livelihoods that break the vicious cycle of poverty and enhance sustainable development.
The 18-year-old, Faith Ngwenya’s upbringing and educational pathway has been under the wings of her grandmother, staying in the deeper countryside of Plumtree in Matabeleland South Province. Faith was left under the custodian of her grandmother when her mother left for green pastures in Botswana. Everything was going well until an unfortunate incident struck her grandmother and she was left incapacitated to continue fending for the family and particularly her granddaughter’s education. She had to drop out of school in Form 3. It is then that she learnt about the DREAMS program in her village, and she was enrolled in the DREAMS program.
Faith received the primary package including information on HIV prevention as well as teenage pregnancies. Faith was found eligible for the DREAMS RISE program educational subsidies using the program’s criteria. She went on to benefit from the education subsidies which saw her excel in her ordinary level. Currently, she’s aiming higher as she is closing into her Advanced Level exams.
“Without intervening of the DREAMS Program, my future could have been doomed, I would like to thank the program for ensuring that I’m back in school, and I will make sure I excel in every way so that others can be inspired by my story,” explained Faith in tears of joy.
The DREAMS-RISE program’s Educational Support is targeting vulnerable Adolescent Girls and Young Women aged 10-24 years with education support interventions with particular focus on those who are at risk of dropping out of school, and those who would have dropped out of school. The program supports with their re-enrolment into formal and non-formal education across the nine districts of implementation. Faith is among the 15,534 girls who have been targeted by the program aiming at keeping them in school, ultimately reducing their risk of HIV infection