In 2005, I was living and working in Swaziland. The boys from the neighbourhood used to tout for business cleaning cars at the school where I worked and so forth and it was this way that I met Thabo. I’m not using his real name because there is a lot of jealousy towards people who manage to advance themselves in Swaziland. At that time, he was fourteen years old and his family had not been able to afford his school fees. Consequently, he had been out of school for a year. I offered to meet his mother and discuss the possibility of paying for his school fees where he was already enrolled for the new school year due to start in September. So it was that he started form 1 at Mbabane Central High School that year. He progressed very well and was a keen student. He completed five forms and left school in 2010.
In 2011, he enrolled at the University of Swaziland to study for a business management and accounting degree. I pay for his accommodation and a living allowance. He is now in the final year of his studies. Most likely, he will continue in education for a year to study for a post-graduate qualification in education so that he will be able to get a job as a teacher if he cannot find a job in business.
Having sponsored him for over nine years, I have seen him grow in confidence and expand his horizons. He keeps in contact with me and is good friends with my son. He also helps my son keep in touch with his roots in Swaziland. My hope is that he will be able to start a business one day. I have probably spent in the region of £5000 so far in supporting him and if he leaves with a University degree and gets a job, it will be worth it. Hopefully, I will have contributed in some way to the development of the country.
Update January 2019
In 2015, he graduated from university with a bachelor of commerce degree. He then got a job with Swazi Railways in May 2016, being one of only three selected for interview. He has recently been promoted.