We all face challenges that can make it difficult to achieve our dreams. But, for some, these challenges can be even greater due to their socioeconomic background. Meet Steven Sitwala, a 15-year-old boy from Dambwa North in Livingstone, who faces many challenges but refuses to let them stop him from achieving his dream of going to university.
Steven is the fourth child in a family of seven and has recently passed his grade 9 exams with flying colours. Steven was brought up in Dambwa North community in Livingstone, an extremely poor neighbourhood that is severely underserved. Steven’s parents and his older siblings never transitioned to higher education and struggled to find work.
On starting secondary school, Steven started struggling to keep up with his class. He had no support outside of school and needed help to pass his ninth grade, otherwise his education would finish. He is one of the boys from the football academy who attends the reading club twice a week at the grounds.
But, Steven didn’t give up. He felt comfortable to ask for help and Starford, his football coach at Play it Forward, recommended he attend the after school literacy club. The literacy coordinator was more than happy to welcome him to the group and help him prepare for his exams. Steven was given extra help in subjects such as mathematics, English, history and science. Additionally, he was provided with study materials such as books and past papers that he could use for revising in his own time over the weekends and during school holidays.
The results for the grade 10 exams were recently announced, and Steven scored the highest in his class with 434 points. Steven is now starting his grade 10 and is excited to have made it this far. His father said,
"I am very proud of my son who has made it to grade 10. I was worried when his performance started becoming poor and I was unable to help him. I was so happy when he mentioned that there was a program that gave him the opportunity to get extra educational support."
The Play it Forward team are proud of Steven and all the hard work he has put in. Extra-curricular support like this gives every child the opportunity to succeed. Stories like Steven’s help to inspire other children following in his footsteps to never give up on their education and to seek out resources and support that can help them achieve their goals.