My Name is Mamapatlakane Eunice Mosia. I am a 15-year-old South African citizen, I live in Qwaqwa Lusaka Thabong Section. I live with my mother and my older sister. I am a student at Tswelangpele Senior Phase doing grade 9.

I grew up in Qwaqwa with both my parents. Life was not easy because both my parents were unemployed. Sometimes we would sleep with empty stomachs because there would be no money to buy food. This was round about the time I was six years old I would go to school having eaten nothing, no lunch box and no money at all.

I also did not have the full/proper uniform so the kids at school would always let me know that they were laughing at me. Life was very difficult for me. One day when the teacher was giving us a lesson, something happened to me, I was filled with so much anger thinking of my situation.

I stole my friend’s money and bought food during break. I began stealing money in class everyday without anybody noticing that I was doing this.

I was not stealing because I was a thief, I was stealing because I was in a bad situation and I had to survive.

One day I was caught out! I was not aware that one of my classmates was looking at me when I was busy stealing. She told the teacher. The teacher took me to the principal’s office and they called my mom. It was terrible.  However, I stopped stealing.

In grade four, our lives began to be better because my father found a job at Welkom Harmony Gold Mine. He saved a lot of money to build a better house for our family and we were all happy because he was meeting all our needs and wants.

I even began performing well at school because my problems were over. I had a friend who chose to forgive me and forget all about the past. I was really enjoying school now.

In 2013, I was doing grade seven and my father fell ill. He did not tell us so were no aware of his illness and that he was in hospital. We heard from his friends and we could not believe them. My mom borrowed some money, headed for Welkom to see if it was true or not. When she arrived at the mine offices, they told her that my father was indeed in hospital and save her got directions to where hospital was.  When my mom arrived at the hospital, the doctor informs my mother that my father had died two days ago as he was suffering from TB. She collapsed; just imagine a father dying without telling his family that he is ill, a father dying all alone.

We started to learn a new life, a life without our father. It was not easy at all. He was our sole breadwinner and we depended on him for everything.

Now life is ok because the mine is supporting us with money for our education on a monthly basis. My experiences have taught me to face challenges that may come head on. My mother used to tell me that life is a journey, a test. I am so proud of her because today I am a student who has a bright future ahead, I am an intelligent, respectful, kind and a God fearing young person and this is all thanks to my mother being strong for me.

I would like to say that the good and the bad aspects that have happened to me in my life have helped me because I have focus, I have direction and I am inspired to have a better life. I know where I am coming from and where I am going, I am getting a good education and I think these are good principles for a great life.

I trust God in all things that I am doing, will do and all the challenges I am facing.

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