Due to the challenges that families caring for orphans and vulnerable students face, many of the students from such rural circumstances would have completely dropped out of school without assistance. The African Bush Camps Foundation’s Scholarship Program was created in 2008, and the orphan and vulnerable students we support from Hwange Main Camp Primary School and Mambanje Primary School compete for a full scholarship to the best boarding Secondary School they can gain entrance to in Zimbabwe.
They then embark on stringent scholarship conditions to stay in the program. We also aim to provide them with guidance and support in all areas of their lives, positively influencing their physical and mental wellbeing and therefore performance at school.
Rutendo Mangwana was the Top scoring girl for grade 7 in 2008 at Main Camp Primary School and so became our first young lady to join the Secondary Scholarship program. She comes from a family of two children; she has a brother who is in Secondary School and both of her parents are alive and she lives with them at Hwange Main Camp compound together with her brother. Her father works as a ranger for the National Parks and her mother is a house wife.
Rutendo attended Marist Secondary School and then moved onto Eveline High school in Bulawayo. Over the years she has attended African Bush Camps Foundation events and helped out at her Junior School helping the younger students and giving back to the program. She wrote her ‘A Level’ examinations in 2014, completing her Secondary School career. She then applied to attend University in 2015 at Great Zimbabwe University which is situated in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
She was accepted into the Human Resources programme, and here are her first impressions…
“Indeed there is more to life than what we can imagine. Mingling and mixing with people from different countries and tribes was not easy at all during my first days at University but as days went by things changed and surely, varsity life is fun. I do not know how to express the eagerness I had when I came to Varsity. I really felt that life had started for me! Being exposed and mingling with people I did not know really taught me a lot. At last I am now at Varsity and it makes me feel recognized. Some notorious seniors I found termed it `Varsity Fever`. As time went by that fever faded and now it feels like this has been part of my life for years.
Being independent is one of the things I have learnt at Varsity. The first month was not that easy! There are times when things get tough as things do not work according to the way you would have planned them and such is life. No matter how tough things were during the first month, they got back on track when I settled and now I have nothing to worry about. I also had to realise that there is too much freedom and that the freedom of it should not be misused at all. One has to stand firm, not to abuse the freedom that we have been given as students, talking from my own perspective.
The greatest thing is that I am enjoying my studies and the kind of life I am living, it is a good experience indeed. Great Zimbabwe is great! No words can explain how happy I am.
Lastly I want to express my sincere gratitude for all African Bush Camps Foundation is doing for me. The more I think of what you have done for me, the more I get motivated and believe me you, one of these days I will be of great use to the Foundation and an example to my fellow students. I am really grateful for everything and I am sure I am going to make you proud.
Rutendo Julia Mangwana”
We are very proud of Rutendo and she has proven to be a member of the community for the children and adults to look up to. She is paving the way for future Secondary School graduates to advance their studies and step into the future as educated and independent people.