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"I have watched them grow into 2 wonderful young adults" - SOS Africa's Kelebogile and Olebogeng Graduate from High School

31 Jan 2018

Nearly 12 years ago to this very day, two very nervous children embarked on an exciting new journey. Kelebogile and Olebogeng both resided in the rural township of Lonely Park, Mafikeng. As its somewhat sombre name suggests, living in such a community is not easy. Among the many challenges faced by its residents, access to a high standard of education is a constant struggle; with a 35% primary school drop-out rate, a 20% Matric completion rate and only a 7% further education attendance rate, it is fair to say that the odds were stacked against these two bright young minds.

Kelebogile and Olebogeng received their Leavers Books from SOS Africa

Fortunately for Kelebogile and Olebogeng, an act of generosity from sponsors far across the globe ensured that they would defy these odds; after joining the SOS Africa Mafikeng Education Programme in January 2006, these two bright sparks would receive all the educational support they would require to thrive and prosper. 12 years on, after celebrating the completion of Matric, these two once anxious children now stand proudly before us, transformed into confident young adults.

The SOS Africa Charity staff and children celebrate the graduation of Kelebogile and Olebogeng 

As is tradition, each year the charity’s staff and children throw a big party to celebrate the achievements of our latest success stories. In addition, this year we also had the honour of hosting a meal for Kelebogile and Olebogeng during which time they reflected on their experiences over the past 12 years:

Kelebogile: “My fondest memories were of High school, we were like a big family always playing games and sharing experiences. My school years were also challenging – I had to learn that you only succeed if you put in the effort. Now that I have my Grade 12 certificate, I want to study psychology at university and perhaps one day become a professional author and write books of my own. I would like to thank Mam (Jenny Matthews) and my sponsors for the support they have given me - I'll forever be grateful for everything they've done for me for these past 12 years.”

Olebogeng: “High School was one of the places where I can say I was being myself at all times and with that, every moment was worthwhile... There I definitely made friends for life! My school years have also taught me discipline, to respect others and their opinions, to at all times choose what's right over what's convenient, to be committed to making myself a better person and not to be afraid of taking risks. I have just started an exciting new course in engineering - my ambition is to keep studying and working hard so that one day I can also make a difference by putting a smile one someone else's face…”

Mavis, Kelebogile and Olebogeng are the first 3 children to graduate from the SOS Africa Education Programme

Amidst the celebrations, it is also an emotional time for our staff – SOS Africa Project Manager Jenny Matthews has supported these children every step of the way:

“I am so proud of Kelebogile and Olebogeng and all they have achieved. I have watched them grow from Grade 1 to matric into 2 wonderful young adults. I wish them everything of the best for a wonderful future. May all their dreams come true. I will miss them but I know they will go on to achieve great things.”

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