Blessed was one of the first students we sponsored in Africa. He graduated from high school and is now 24 years old and aspiring to be a media practitioner. He’s currently working on his undergrad degree in Media and Society Studies at Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe. He is working as a journalist for THE TIMES, a community newspaper in the Midlands Province.

Things didn’t always seem so promising for Blessed. In fact when he was young his mother struggled to provide for the family. They bounced from place to place which made it hard for Blessed to get into a rhythm with his studies. But in 2004 when Blessed was 9 years old they finally settled down and he was able to attend a public primary (elementary) school called Mhlahlandlea Primary School located in a marginalized community of Lower Gweru.

Eventually, Blessed’s mother was hired as a teacher at the Budirio Primary School. She was finally able to make a humble, but stable income for the family. Blessed’s living situation improved and things were looking very good. With the income Blessed was able to continue his studies at the Budiriro B College (BBC) in Gweru, Mkoba Township, a school where other Yuda Bands students attend. Don’t let the name fool you, “college” means high school in Zim.

Blessed describes what happened next in his life in a letter to he sent to Phillip Whiting, Yuda Bands president.

Life was about to make a turn for the better as I continued my studies. But during the course of my O’level exams in 2014 my mother unexpectedly passed away. My future seemed so bleak but having in mind that my mother wished the best out of me, I was strong enough to hold the grief and confront the greatest challenge of my life.

So I kept studying and passed my O’ level and A’ level with flying colours. The entire staff at BBC, Budiriro Primary School where my mother taught, and my community celebrated my O’ level results as if I was their own kid. Of course I can’t deny I feel like their kid since they all encouraged me to continue my studies after I had been so affected by the tragedy of losing my mother. 

In his letter to Phillip he continues his story and sharing his thoughts on how Yuda Bands has impacted.

Yuda Bands came to my rescue when I was doing my A’ level. Having heard of my story from the college’s principal they assisted me by paying my school fees. But it wasn’t paying my school fees that made the difference in my life. Yuda Bands helped me learn leadership skills, they taught me my responsibility to the community where I live, they taught me resilience, integrity, charity, and the spirit of volunteerism and serving my fellow man. My personal development and success in general are all attributed to Yuda Bands.

Blessed is one of many students who really caught the vision of Yuda Bands. We don’t just pay school fees. We help youth gain confidence in themselves. We are privileged to help students like Blessed. Had he been born in another country his circumstances would have most likely been much different. Blessed’s local Yuda Bands directors Rangarirai and Precious Mukundu love and care for each of the students in their program. Under the direction and curriculum of Yuda Bands they give the needed skills to the Yuda Bands sponsored students so they can provide for themselves and their families.

If the global pandemic of COVID-19 doesn’t require students to repeat classes, Blessed will graduate with his undergrad in December 2021. An accomplishment that VERY few Zimbabweans will attain.

Gracias -(All thanks to) Yuda Bands for making my dream come true, valuing education, which is the only way to break poverty chain in unprivileged societies. You’ve always been my source of inspiration and my shining Sun.