“Life was hard, school was hard, I just wanted to give up….”  Nompumelelo shared this with me looking back on her 12th grade, the year before she passed her matric exam.  “But my mentor wouldn’t let me.   She pushed me.  She made me study.  She told me I could do it.  And I did.  You know what, it was the first time ever that I realized if I worked very hard, harder than I knew I could, that I could achieve a goal.”

So what if a teenager grows up without ever tasting the sweet success of obtaining a hard fought goal?

“Now I am a soldier.”  This is how Koketso describes “one of the good things” that came out of a very bad work experience.  I saw Koketso a little more than six months ago, just before she began her first full-time job.  She was excited and very proud that her hard work as a free-lancer had led her to this milestone moment.