Commitment and hard work have earned a young Endlovini informal settlement resident Hlalumi Velleman a scholarship to attend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg.
The 13-year-old pupil from Intshayelelo Primary School is proud to be among the few girls from across the country who received the opportunity to be a part of the school.
Hlalumi has received more than 10 awards and certificates for doing exceptionally well in her subjects.
In grades 4, 6 and 7, she was named as a top achiever and obtained 80 percent and above in all her subjects.
She said she was extremely proud that she has been given the opportunity to receive the best education in the country.
Hlalumi, who wants to become a chartered accountant, said she spends most of her time studying and trying to master the topics she finds most difficult.
She and another classmate were selected to write the assessment in Athlone.
Even though she felt that she did answer the questions in the best way possible, she was still surprised when she learnt that she had passed with distinction. She was then invited to a two-day camp at the school in Johannesburg.
“I have already started shaping my mind for the journey ahead. I want to succeed at that school as a way of saying thank you to my former teachers and school for guiding me and ensuring that I do my school work.
“I want to be a beacon of hope to other children who come from similar backgrounds and show them that nothing is impossible in life.
“I want to make my mother proud and my entire family. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m glad that God has granted me such an opportunity. I promise my family that I will abide by the school conduct and not let anyone down,”she said.
Hlalumi said she always pushes herself every single day and keeps her faith in God.
Her mother, Bonsiwe, said she is a proud mother and her daughter’s dedication to her books and studies encourages her to try as much as possible to provide her family with a better life.
The 40-year-old mother of four said as someone who depends on piece-meal jobs, she would have never been able to send her daughter to the best schools in the country.
But she said this opportunity takes a huge burden off her shoulders and what makes it more of a blessing is the fact that she won’t have to pay anything towards the school fees.
Ms Velleman said as a parent she was proud that her daughter would receive the best education in the country. She said she has fears as a parent but she hopes and prays that Hlalumi would abide by the school’s code of conduct and behave well.
She said she hopes that her child’s success would inspire other girls who come from similar backgrounds and show them that nothing is impossible in life.