All Salma wanted was to get better at maths, finish school and become a nurse. When she was in kindergarten, she was top of her class. In Grade 1, she finished second.
Everything was going well ... until it wasn’t.
“My mother talked to me and told me that I will have to quit school, because they can no longer provide for my needs. It made me sad, but I understood, so I decided to just help them,” now 10-year-old Salma says.
“I was forced to ask her to stop. Life was difficult then. My husband got sick and could barely provide for us. It was painful to ask Salma to quit school because she is an intelligent child," says Salma’s mother, Salam.
"She cried a lot, but there was nothing I can do. It was painful for all of us.”
Salam worried that her children would faint in class on days when they didn’t have breakfast or snacks to eat. She didn’t have enough money to buy their school supplies. Her circumstances forced her to choose between her children’s education and their daily survival.
“We were also moving from one place to another during that time. We did not have a place of our own. Even the house that we live in now is just borrowed.”
Salma’s dream became a blur. In the next two years, instead of solving maths problems in the classroom, she helped her parents at their small fruit stand business.
“Maths was my favourite because I could help my mother in the store. I am usually in charge of giving change to the fruit buyers,” Salma tells us.
Despite being out of school, Salma has always prayed for provision. Whenever she saw her classmates go to school, she’d wish that she could join them again one day.
Child sponsorship reached Salma
Salma is one of 2,000 children who became part of the programme. This paved the way for her to go back to school.
Although she knew that she would have to catch up, she was happy to start studying again.
“I was happy when they told me that I can go back to school,” she smiles.
“We were oriented about what World Vision is and its work for children. That gave me hope for my daughter. As a mother, my dream is to see my children finish their education,” says Salam.
Persevering amid COVID-19
“I was excited to go back to school, meet my classmates and make new friends, but we were not allowed to have face-to-face classes. We are now doing modular learning,” says Salma.
The current set up is challenging for her. Her parents can barely help her when she does not understand her lessons.
“I only finished Grade 1, so there is not much I can help her with,” her mother adds.
Despite the situation, she is finding ways to finish all her requirements at school. She asks her relatives to tutor her. Salma is still excited.
“I study every morning and I make sure to finish my modules on time. In the afternoon, I help my parents in the store.”
Even after two years away, Salma’s love for maths never wavered. She still prefers it among her other subjects in school, and she has got better at maths.
“Thank you to my sponsor. I promise to study harder. Please take care always,” says Salma.
She still has a chance, after all to keep loving maths, finish her education and become a nurse one day.
By Florence Joy Maluyo