Sarah Deredza and her young brother and sister were travelling through Zimbabwe with their ailing mother. Their father had died and the family was struggling to survive. Sarah's mother eventually brought the children to Harare in search of relatives who might be able to help them.
SOS children performing a traditional dance in Zimbabwe. Photo by Justine Lungu
Sarah's mother collapsed outside a radio station in Harare. She was taken to the hospital where she passed away. The radio station broadcasted an appeal for assistance with the children. Eight-year-old Sarah, her six-year-old brother and twelve-year-old sister were then taken to SOS Children's Village Bulawayo in south Zimbabwe.
Arriving in the Village in 1996, the three siblings grew strong within a loving home and village environment. They performed well in school and quickly bonded with their new family. The permanent home suited the siblings. All three children are now adults and are independent from SOS Children's Villages.
Sarah loves to travel. She attended high school in Ghana at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College, where she successfully completed her International General Secondary School Certificate in 2006. This internationally recognized certificate covered subjects like, English, IT, French, Economics and Biology. Zenaye Soloman was one of her tutors in Ghana. She remembers Sarah well: "Sarah was one of my brightest students. She has been very successful and is a lovely young woman."
Sarah was accepted at Berea College in 2006. She is taking part in Berea's 'Peace and Justice Studies' program. Berea College provides all accepted students with full scholarships.
Sarah is very interested in biology. She is a nursing major and hopes to eventually become a nurse practitioner. She maintains her interest in peace and justice by taking courses in conflict mediation. In the future, Sarah would like to consider dental or medical school. She also wants to give back to those who have helped her in her life. "I find joy and rewards in giving back to the community," she says.
Sarah has a wide range of interests. "I would say I am a person that values independence, service, life and an individual who demonstrates a higher level of maturity. I enjoy travelling and learning about different cultures and languages. In addition to English, Ndebele, Shona, Swahili and French that I studied in high school, I would like to learn Spanish."
"I really couldn't say that I have much free time now, but when I do I enjoy counselling on relationships for my friends. I also enjoy reading different forms of literature while in natural settings - there is something deeply calming about that. I value friends and family and try to spend time with them."
"I love to explore cuisine and cook; it seems to be a genetic trait that my mother passed on to my sister and me. We hope to study further and open our own restaurant someday."
When asked about her experience at SOS Children's Village Bulawayo, Sarah answered, "It's the best thing that could have happened."