An Empty Stomach Makes the School Day a Challenge
“I always sleep in class and teachers punish me because I often come to school hungry,” says Abit, a 6th grade student at Old Boli Primary School in Chiredzi, a village in southeast Zimbabwe.
Keeping the Dream Alive
Abit wants to be a doctor – but says she is ‘training’ herself not be hungry during the day, so that she can study.
“Although there’s no food to eat before I go to school, I want to pursue my education so that I can become a doctor. I’m training myself not to feel hungry until after the school day has ended,” she says. Abit, an orphan, lives with her 18-year-old sister, Naomi.
Making Sacrifices to Survive
Naomi works as a waitress in a local bar earning $5 a month. Her wages are barely enough to support her little sister.
“Abit is a very intelligent girl, whose education is being affected by her life back home. She comes to school with an empty stomach that affects her concentration in class. She does not have any food to eat or any money to buy it,” says her teacher, Mr. Shaba.
Abit agrees with him. “Sometimes, I skip lessons to look for small jobs in other people’s homes in exchange for food. When some of my peers are busy with their school work, or nagging their parents for new clothes and gadgets, I’m busy thinking of what to eat the next day.”
Thousands of orphans in the drought stricken Chiredzi district are resorting to begging, prostitution, and crime to survive, but despite the challenges facing her, Abit is determined to stay in school.