What’s a helpless orphan girl to do?
Stricken but not vanquished, denied but never discouraged…
Maud Chifamba can best be described as an African wonder; a young and helpless teenager who has defied adversity and pain to break boundaries and set records.
Born November 19, 1997 into abject poverty and deprivation, anyone would conclude that life could never get any worse for a child. But it did get worse for Maud.
In 2002, she lost her father at age 5, before she started first grade. And that meant that the family burden fell on the already beaten shoulders of her mother, who could only bear the weight for a short while before she fell very ill and was later diagnosed with cancer.
This prompted Maud and her younger brother to fall under the care of a step brother, who lived in Hunters Road, in between Kwekwe and Gweru, Midlands, Zimbabwe at the time. Never one to accept defeat, the little Zimbabwean girl kept her eyes on her dream, until her opportunity came; she got admitted into Hurudza primary school in 2003.
While in primary school, she outshone her equals and was often catapulted to higher classes. In 2005, while she was in grade 3, during the mid-year exams, she was mistakenly given a grade 4 exam paper in which she scored 100%.
In the following term during the same year, she requested a grade 5 test paper in which she achieved the highest score and proceeded to grade seven, where she made 4 units.
After primary school, surviving became even more difficult for the young girl, her brothers who were general workers at a farm, couldn’t raise enough money to pay the fees required to keep her at formal school so Maud decided to home school herself.
Determined and resilient, the wunderkind tutored herself vigorously and extensively for several hours each day and completed her Ordinary Level in just two years, that was 2009.
“I studied very hard, for the biggest part of the day and even into the night,” she remembers.
Destiny spotted her when in 2011, she was discovered by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and was awarded a $9,993 scholarship to study accounting at the University of Zimbabwe. A new dawn; but not without troubles. In the same year, Maud lost her mother.
“It’s phenomenal, especially if you consider that for her A-Levels she was not in formal school,” the commissioner general of the Zimbabwean Revenue Authority, Gershem Pasi, tells CNN “She was just reading by herself at home and her brothers only managed to pay the examination fee.” He adds.
In all of this, the Zimbabwean whizz kid stood strong, unshaken and focused. She proved that none of the things she suffered was strong enough to break her or muffle the voice of her dream. Instead, it gave her the push she needed to achieve the extraordinary.
She tells CNN “It really motivated me to work harder because there was no one to take care of me except myself in the future, that was … a motivator for me to have something to do with my life.”
Indeed, she has chosen to do something amazing with her life. In 2013, Maud scored distinctions at the University of Zimbabwe, where she was studying for her Bachelor of Accountancy Honours Degree.
In 2007 she was named the best student under the most difficult conditions in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe.
In December 2012, Maud Chifamba was 5th on the Forbes Top 100 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa. Her name was also entered in the book of African Records as the youngest university student in the continent.
In October the following year, Maud was a delegate at the launching of a Terre des Hommes Campaign for girls in Rome, Italy. In the same month, the shining star was seen shaking hands with the mighty at the International day of the girl child celebrations, hosted by UNICEF in Zimbabwe. She had the honour of delivering a speech at the event.
Like Maud Chifamba, we all have what it takes to be the best we can be…
Think and act.
“What you are born into does not determine what is in you.” ~Albert D.Q