Mary M., Rising From Hardship

We’re continuing a series of short profiles about our students, their lives and what their educations mean to them. Here’s another example of a young person who wants to use her education to make a difference in the world. 

Mary M.

Mary M., a seventeen year old from Zambia, understands intimately how circumstance can change the shape of a life. She points to specific factors that impact quality of life and educational opportunities for her and her peers: poor housing facilities, poor water supply, bad sanitation conditions, teenage pregnancy, early marriage and high levels of poverty. She’s got a mind for public policy and has big dreams—she wants to “eradicate poverty levels at home and in my community.”

Mary’s impressive goals have a painful origin. When she was eight, her father died. She describes that time as being “like a nightmare.” Not only did she lose her beloved Daddy, but his death had ramifications beyond her terrible grief.

Her father had supported the family and paid the kids’ school fees. But with him gone, money ran low. Mary’s mother, who has a disability, could not get a manual labor job. Mary and her six siblings began to see their futures slip away. Mary was forced to drop out of school for a year.

But then things started to turn around. Mary learned about our partner KnowledgeBeat, which renewed her hope for her future. She took and passed her grade nine exams. Through TSF she was able to secure a spot in the school of her choice. And she’s doing well, dedicating her time to learning and “planning for my future of becoming a lawyer.”

Sometimes, many times, our greatest leaders find their beginnings in hardship. They suffer or see others suffering, and in trying to make sense of that experience, start down a path toward making the world a better place. Mary is well on her way toward creating a better life for herself, but her commitment to changing her community’s cycles of poverty speaks to something greater.

As Mary studies, we see one of Zambia’s future leaders coming of age.

Learn more about Mary and support her education through The School Fund.

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