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From a simple rural girl to an award winning lawyer

Yeukal getting ready for court outside the Gweru Regional Court.
Yeukal getting ready for court outside the Gweru Regional Court.
March 5, 2012

By Yeukai Mugumba

Every time I see a Plan logo, I cannot help but smile.

The logo reminds me of 1990 when I was photographed for the first time. I remember holding my mother’s hand and smiling as the photographer clicked the camera. I treasure that day for it changed my life. I am now a qualified lawyer and am thankful to opportunities facilitated by Plan in Zimbabwe.

I am Yeukai Mugumba from Silobela community in Kwekwe and I was sponsored by Plan for my primary and secondary education.

The first letter that I received in my life was from my sponsor and I remember showing all my friends how a letter looks like! We all marvelled and looked forward to more letters. Based on the letters, I shared with my friends how life was like in Japan where my sponsor parent was based. I became a source of information on the culture, the landscape and the people of Japan.

The letters inspired me to work hard and I improved my grammar through the letters I wrote to my sponsor parent. I enjoyed sharing with my sponsor parent events that impressed me in my community.

In many ways, the letters shaped and influenced the profession I was to pursue in later years. As my English grammar improved, so did my performance in school. I gained confidence and empathized with my friends.

Plan supported me from grade 1 up to Advanced level. As a sponsored child I had the opportunity to discuss at length with Plan’s community development facilitators. I learned a lot and understood more about child abuse, child protection and participation – I was able to use this knowledge in later years.

I graduated from Fort Hare University’s Law School in 2009 and I am currently working as a Public Prosecutor (PP) in the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As a PP, I am a state lawyer and my passion is to help the less privileged who seek justice through the courts. The cases that are close to my heart include those of child abuse and women’s rights violations.

My duties have made me realize knowledge gaps among children’s understanding on what constitutes child rights violations. As part of giving back to the community, my wish is to partner with Plan Zimbabwe on community sensitization exercises and to raise awareness on fundamental issues that children, especially girls, should know.

Where I come from, I am a role model among girls and all children as I am the first lawyer to have made it. As a girl child I believe I have paved the way for others to follow. Nothing is impossible. My wish is to set up a law firm and continue to work closely with organizations such as Plan on child rights issues.

In 2011, I won the third prize of the Attorney General’s “Law Officer” of the year! The award is in recognition of outstanding government law officers. All this potential is being realized because someone in Japan helped me to realize my full potential. I heartily thank you Plan.

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