During a mission trip in October 2019, we met Emihle at a youth meeting in Khayelitsha – one of the biggest townships in Cape Town. She had a certain sadness about her however it was clear that there was a determination within her. We chatted with her to find out her story………….

She is now aged 19 and in her penultimate year at high school, studying English, Afrikaans, Mathematics Literacy, Consumer Studies, History, Geography and Life Orientation. Sadly, her mother had passed away when she was aged only 10 and then her grandmother in 2019. She is now living with her uncle and family – a total of 8 people in a two roomed house.

In South Africa, they have to pay for their education – the fees are R6,000 (£280) per annum, which may not sound a lot to us in western society, but to them, it is a huge amount. Due to family circumstances, she is struggling to pay this year’s fees and there is also an arrears from the previous years when her grandmother passed away. The total arrears are R15,070 (£705).

Depending on her exam results and God willing, Emihle’s ambition is to complete a degree Bachelor in Public Health, which is a 4-year programme. On completion, she would be a certified nurse with qualifications recognised in both in South Africa and internationally. The degree course would begin in February 2022 finishing in December 2025. At this point in time, the estimated annual fees would be R32,800-R45,650 (£1,535 – £2,135) – again this doesn’t sound a lot to us, but to those who are struggling to make ends meet and live from day to day, it’s a huge mountain to climb.

Here’s her story in her own words:

“I am Emihle Makalima from South Africa, but I stay in a small area that is called Kuyasa. I am 19 years old and I am doing grade 12 this year. I am a child of God and my hope is finish school and able to study further; my dream is to go and study in a university and get a degree and able to help people in need too. BTBAB has made a huge difference in my life course, I was able to study without being worried about school fees and I am so grateful for the BTBAB sponsorship”