Perfect arrived in the Dzaleka camp with her older sister in 2012. At the time, she was 12, and her sister, Patience, was only 15. They were separated from their parents in Burundi, so the two unaccompanied minors sought refuge in Malawi. Life is very difficult for young girls, but they had the support of JRS.
Neither of the girls spoke or understood English. Burundi is a francophone country, but Malawi’s education system is anglophone. Patience had already attended secondary school in Burundi, so she was registered into a programme which helps students learn English as the transition into the secondary school system in Malawi. Perfect was too young for secondary school, but she was afraid of attending school without her sister, so she was allowed to join her in the programme.
She worked hard and graduated secondary school in 2016. Perfect had always dreamed of becoming a Social Worker. Her own experiences and the struggles of the people around her motivated her to make a difference.
In August 2017, she heard of the Naweza programme that sponsored girls in university. She was determined to take control of her future and connected with JRS to find opportunities to continue her studies. When Naweza started the following year, Perfect and her sister qualified for the sponsorship. She says being awarded the Naweza scholarship was one of the best moments of her life.
Although Patience got married after secondary school, she has not given up on her dream of becoming a healthcare professional. She was recently awarded an scholarship through Naweza, and is currently searching for a university.
Perfect is now 19 years old, in her first year at a Catholic university and majoring in Social Work. She has been able to pursue her dreams while becoming wiser and making better informed decisions. She says she would probably be married already without the opportunity to go to university.
“There are many people to thank for where I am today. I am grateful for my parents who raised me until we were separated, grateful for JRS who sponsored me through my education, and I am grateful to my sister who has always given me motherly advice.“
While on campus, you will always find perfect studying, but she also enjoys a game of basketball to help her relax.