Shamila is the oldest of four siblings in her family. She resides in Kalonga Village, Salima, with her mother. She has been raised by a single parent since the time she was in Standard Eight when her parents divorced.  

After completing primary school, Shamila was selected to Msalura Community Day Secondary School. Her mother could however not afford to pay the tuition fees for the first term, and Shamila failed to write her end-of-first-term examinations.

In search of alternatives to sourcing the much-needed fees, Shamila tried applying for scholarships from various organizations, but all her attempts were in vain. At the start of her second term in Form One, she went to school for the first two weeks. The moment school authorities discovered that she has not even paid for the previous term’s fees, she was sent packing with orders that she has to return to the school with fees for both the first and second terms.

It has been a rough academic journey for the youngster who wishes to be a nurse when she finishes school.

In one instance, her neighbour informed her about an organization in town that helps students struggling with tuition fees. She gave it a shot, but unfortunately, they only helped students who they had supported since primary school.

Shamila was then contacted by her teacher, Mr. Nkhoma, who gave her some fantastic news. He told her about a local initiative called Youth Empowerment and Support Initiative (YESI) that supports students with an average academic grade above 50 percent – a threshold she had surpassed.

For the past year, Shamila has been attending her classes without any fear of being asked to leave. Her dreams of becoming a nurse will hopefully come to fruition now that she has the support she desperately desired.

Shamila Wakati is one of the 24 students from five schools supported by YESI under the Janet Allan Educational Fund, a scholarship program that was established to educate brilliant young students from Salima. The fund comes with support from the Allan Family and other well-wishers in memory of their mother and friend, Janet Allan, who died at the age of 73 in February 2022.