All the Alexandra Grade 12 learners, wanting to have a mentor, have been asked to write a motivation letter
Who are our mentee?
30 of them gave information about their family : 19 live with a single mother (63 %), 7 with both parents (23%) and 4 with other family members (2 are orphans). In most case, the mother works as a domestic worker and is the only breadwinner.
Most of them live in small house (sometimes a single room) with many siblings and, sometimes, other members of the family, with whom they have to share their bedrooms. “Where I’m studying, it’s not a good environment to study”, “My situation makes studying to be difficult” ; “It is very hard to study because my little sister and brother make noise”...
All of them have big dreams for their future and say that they are hard working. Families put pressure on them to succeed and a lot of them are scared to disappoint their parents. They are anxious about their Grade 12 results. Even if they succeed, some of them think that their family is too poor to pay for their tertiary education.
Why do they need a mentor ?
- To motivate them :
- “Children who live in my community do things to please their friends, like going out at night and hanging out with the wrong people. This project helps me not be one of them”. “I’ve gone through impediments which were so hard to bare, but my commitment with St Mary taught me to take an obstacle as a way of revealing my true capabilities” ; “I want to see myself one day saying my mentor made me to be someone that I never thought I will be” ; “I need someone to support me emotionally” ; “I can’t’ read my books without anything disturbing me or me going outside and hang out with my friend. With them, we talk about what happens in the street and never about what happens in school. At school, we talk about girls but never about things that motivate us” ; “I can’t possibly decide how to balance my social and academic life. I need someone who will instil discipline in me” ; “I need a mentor who can upgrade my (self) confidence” ; “All I need is focus and courage, enthusiasm and support” ;
- To listen to them :
- “I’ve realised that I make a lot of mistakes in my school work and personal life. I need a person I can open up to and trust, who will understand my problems and guide me through the right path”. “There are things I can’tell my friends ; but having a mentor will make me feel free”. “I cannot talk to my mother because she is too rude and she does not understand”.“I need someone to talk to about my feelings and goals” ; “Since I was a kid, I don’t have someone who will advice and encourage me”
- To help them with subjects they are struggling with (maths, physics, life sciences) and to “improve their studying method”;
- To help them with career guidance : some are “confused” about what they should study next year
- To help them to get loan/bursaries to further their education
We can do our best at least to motivate them to study hard this year and to help them to access tertiary education