Khayelitsha Grade 11 pupil, Mbali Qiqimana, has been selected to be part of a student exchange programme at the Georgia State University in Atlanta, in America.
However, her once in a life time opportunity might not come true if she fails to raise the R20 000 needed to cover the travelling costs.
Mbali, 16, and her family, are now calling on the public to help her raise funds for the trip. She attends the Leadership College, in Observatory, and is expected to jet off early in March for two weeks to be part of the programme.
Mbali and another classmate were selected after they had to write a motivational letter and present it to the school judging panel.
She said even though she knew deep down that she had done all the necessary research and did the best she could to impress the judges, she did not think that she stood a chance.
She felt her other classmates gave powerful presentations. Mbali told Vukani that when she was told that she had been selected her eyes became teary and at first she thought it was a prank.
She said it took some time for the news to finally sink in that she stood a chance of travelling overseas.
“I have no precise words to describe how I feel. I feel grateful about the trip and I want to use this God-given opportunity to represent my community and country well. But most importantly, I want to learn how things are done in the US. What makes me more excited is that I will be the first one in my family to travel overseas, “ she said.
Mbali said she intends to study business management and hopes to run her own business one day.
She said in the motivational letter she detailed how she was going to represent her school, country and her community.
She said some of the key things she highlighted was that people needed to be humble, modest and respectful.
But most importantly, she said people needed to start caring for others and put their needs and interests first.
She said there are many challenges facing young people such as the abuse of drugs and alcohol, and gangsterism.
She said these were some of the things that forced young people to drop out of school and she hopes that one day the government could implement strategies to address these social ills.
Mbali hopes that local businesses would play a role in community development. She would also love an opportunity to study in America.
Proud mother, Cecilia Qiqimana said she was over the moon that her only child had been selected for the trip.
But she was worried that they might not be able to raise the funds and she was appealing to anyone who could help.
Ms Qiqimana is a domestic worker and does not have the money.
She said next week her daughter would start with fund-raising initiatives at school and in her community. And therefore she was appealing to the public to help turn her daughter’s dream into a reality.
Call Cecilia at 076 625 4988 if you can help.