From Herding to Hospitality

Updated: Aug 28

How a scholarship is bringing one girl out of poverty


By: Gillian Brand

Tsungai Mugari at her homestead in Bushmead village in Musena, Zimbabwe.


Tsungai Melody Mugari was born in 2003 to a poor family in Zimbabwe. When she was a young child her parents aimed to be farmers, but they did not have both the human and financial resources to do so.


Tsungai’s father passed away when she was just six years old, leaving her unemployed mother to take care of her and her four siblings. Rather than working on their own farm, the family labored on others’ fields. They worked in the farms and herded their neighbors’ cattle to survive. In addition to this, Tsungai worked as a housemaid. She made only 80 ZWL (Zimbabwean bond notes) per month - the equivalent of 10 USD at 2018 local conversion rates.


Education was a priority for Tsungai. She managed to complete her primary level, but was forced to drop out eventually. Her family could not afford her school fees and needed her help working in the fields. All the money that she makes goes to supporting her family and their day to day expenses.


Photo: Stanley Ndambakuwa poses for a photo with Tsungai Mugari and her mother at their home in Bushmead village in Musena, Zimbabwe.


Tsungai dreamed of working in hospitality. She sought to take courses in hotel management and catering. This is something that requires an education, making it inaccessible to those without one.


The African Community Fund for Education (ACFE Group) saw promise in Tsungai and her dreams. They gave her a scholarship to continue her studies. Now, she can fulfill her hospitality dreams while pursuing her education and not worrying about how to pay fees and tuition. Additionally, through the ACFE Group’s School Feeding Initiative, Tsungai and many other girls do not have to worry about going to school hungry, as they have a chance to eat a meal at school during lunch time.


While Tsungai now has a chance to complete her education and find employment based on her interests, there are many girls like her that cannot. The ACFE Group is working to help as many girls as possible continue their education. When girls like Tsungai are able to join the workforce as skilled, educated workers, they start changing the communities around them, and eventually the world.


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