Tumelo became a mother at 16. This is the story of the challenges she overcame to finish her matric.
My name is Tumelo (22). I used to be a bright student who got good grades. Then life happened and I lost my mother. I became sad and lost direction, especially with my school work.
Things became better when I met my boyfriend. But without anyone to tell me about the birds and bees, I fell pregnant. I was 16.
Life became harder, especially school. I was always tired and sleepy. I failed grade 9. I also gave birth to my baby. The following year, I went back to school and passed grade 9 but failed grade 10 twice.
However, I really wanted to finish school no matter how long it was starting to take me. I realised I needed support in order to continue my studies. I asked my stepfather and brothers to help me look after my child.
Because of the support, I was getting from my family I was able to start revising and doing homework for three hours every day after school. I also joined a study group that met on Saturday and Sunday. I got help with my schoolwork and made new friends. Some of them were young mothers as well, so I didn’t feel as alone as I felt before.
Being back at school was hard because I was older than everyone in my class but I reminded myself to think about mine and my baby’s future.
My mother always told me that it’s important for girls to be educated. She said education opens doors, and that it can lead to a better life. She also said that school is important. But, there are other places you can go to, like taking up a learnership, or attending ABET classes. They’re held after hours.
I was 22 when I completed school. I’m very proud of myself. I plan to study further to become a social worker. I want to help children like me to find their direction in life, I want to show them that you can achieve your dreams whatever life throws at you!