Together We Are: Providing Opportunities, Providing Futures.

“The most exciting part about passing my 12th grade exams, is that my family was very proud of me and I gave my parents hope. Being the only girl in my family to be educated, I am very proud of myself because I know that if I work hard, I will be rewarded for my hard work. I will be going to College next year to study Pharmacy and I really can’t wait to embark on another school journey.”

Vainess Matipa, 20

Arise first met Vainess when she was 11 years old. She has been a student in our sponsorship program since 2011 when she was in the 4th grade. She has had the same American sponsor, Julie Smith, since day one. It’s crazy to believe she is now 20, a high school graduate, and will soon be going off to pharmacy school!

Vainess and her family live in the Matero compound, one of the poorest communities in Lusaka. She lives with her parents, Angel and Vainess (yes, she’s named after her mom!), and is the youngest of 4 siblings, having lost one of her brothers. She comes from a hard-working and loving family, but unfortunately it isn’t always enough to provide all that a family needs.

Vainess’ dad is a loving and compassionate father. He earned his way up to supervisor at an import and export company in Lusaka. He worked there for 15 years, and her mom sold vegetables at the community market. Her parents made an honest living and were able to financially provide for Vainess and her siblings’ basic needs. They even took in extended family members that needed support. The entire family looked up to her parents. In 2015, Vainess’ father had a stroke and he could not work anymore. Her mom also stopped working in order to stay home full-time and take care of her dad. There wasn’t anyone to provide for Vainess and the family. At 15 and still in school through Arise, Vainess and her brothers started working to become the sole providers for the family after school. They started gardening and grew their own vegetables to sell. They made just enough to get by.

Vainess with her brother (left), dad, mom, and grandmother.

Vainess is so thankful for Arise Africa and her sponsor, Julie, during this time for enabling her to stay in school and continue to get an education. Through the pain and hardship, she followed in her father’s example as a hard worker to work and study in school. Our staff describers her as “enthusiastic and determined”. She’s grown to be a positive influence and a leader to her peers. Arise has been so honored to walk alongside Vainess, encourage her, disciple her, and believe in her.

Beginning in high school, Vainess started working with Arise’s guidance counselor to begin to plan for her future upon graduation. After passing her 12th grade exams in December 2018 with high scores she proved that she is capable of a higher education. She shared she wanted to study pharmacy and Arise is excited to be able to help her get there.

We are excited to share that Vainess has been accepted to attend Apex University, one of the best medical universities in Zambia! She will live near campus and begin school in the new year!

While she endured the dreadful wait of college applications, Vainess has been interning as a hairdresser and beautician with Scruples Day Spar and Hair Salon. She recalls the first few weeks to be very hard! It was her first job, and she felt intimidated by her coworkers because she was the youngest of them all. She has learned to be responsible, on time, and how to work with others. Now the thought of leaving saddens her, but she is so grateful for everything she’s learned. Her coworkers are also happy for her as she read them her acceptance letter with so much excitement!

Vainess is looking forward to starting college in the new year. She will be living near campus because the commute from home would be too difficult, and we all agree she needs to focus on her studies. She is sad to leave her family, and nervous to be sharing a room with a stranger. But she is eager to embrace the challenges this new experience will bring! In all her fears, she has decided to place her worries and concerns in God, knowing He will make a way for her family while she’s away.

Through Julie’s support, the Arise team has been able to get Vainess to this point and not only help her financially with her education, but emotionally and spiritually as well. She has transitioned out of our student sponsorship program and into college enrollment, which means we need additional funding for tuition and living expenses to keep Vainess at pharmacy school. Through our Graduate Sponsorship program, you can join Julie on Team Vainess in helping support her through a monthly or annual donation.

Arise has had the opportunity to love and build relationships with Vainess and her whole family. She is so grateful for what Arise has done for her throughout the years. Her journey hasn’t been easy, but her future is so so bright.

Join us in our commitment to providing students like Vainess with the opportunity to pursue their dreams and give them hope for the future.

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