Growing up in poverty


Kay-Lee J., Student, Christel House South Africa

Growing up in poverty-stricken surroundings, with only a mom and without a dad was hard. My shack where we lived was in a family member’s backyard. Moving from one family member to the next was a hard life for me. However, during those times, though it was hard growing up and I didn’t really understand everything, I wasn’t alone because my mom would show her love and support through all the tough times.

The support from the staff of Christel House has always been helpful. My mom was an alcoholic, but never neglected me. I was always invited at school to do certain things that I didn’t have in my life at home. Many things that other children had, but I couldn’t afford. My life before Christel House felt as if it was closed in a box.

Christel House impacted my life in a big way. The changes that happened in my life also made a change in the lives of my family. Christel House has made me the studious young girl that I am today. They molded, folded and shaped me, and the morals and values they’ve taught me over the years have helped create the strong, hardworking, respectable girl that I am today.

Christel House’s teachers have practically been my mothers and fathers for 12 years, because most of the time they oversaw, provided, supported, helped and taught me what I know today, that not even my family told me. When I look back on my life now, I can acknowledge the patience they took in developing me. The limited resources that I used to have are no more. That is now a thing of the past. I’ve been on outings, excursions, camping, fitness and training after school, Saturday schoolwork, study provision, and am in a leadership position.

The impact that the staff and teachers of Christel House have on my life is highly appreciated. My goodness, my potential, and my achievements are partially thanks to them. Without them, I couldn’t have come this far. “You feed a hungry person for a day, but if you teach a hungry person how to fish then you’ll feed them for a life time.” I could write a book on my life, but out of all the chapters, Christel House would be the start, middle and the end. That’s what Christel House means to me.

What are my hopes and dreams for the future?

My hopes and dreams are to matriculate and get a bachelor’s degree after being accepted to either University of Western Cape or at the College of Cape Town. This is now possible, because I have all the resources I need. The support of teachers and learners makes it possible. The field that I want to follow as a career would be either Civil Engineering or Social Work. I enjoy the challenge of unfolding something so simple into a different thing. Overall, my hope is to build a better future for myself and for my family. I want to do the best I can and to be the best I can be, and to produce the best I can.

I love to work and help out others. I have the ear and the heart to extend my love to others in need, and because of Christel House, I can now pass it on to others. Studying social work would be to break the cycle of poverty, but also to continue the love, kindness and everything that I’ve learnt here and to pass it on.

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