“Nothing comes easy. You have to work for everything you want to achieve in life.” These words define Aasia Olivier, one of our Matric Ruthies, and they come to life as she shares her story.
“My mother died when I was four months old. I lived with my granny in Port Elizabeth until I was 6, when a Johannesburg family adopted me and I moved to Gauteng to start Grade 1 at Hurlyvale Primary in 2009. As I got older, my relationship with my adoptive mother deteriorated badly. My LO teacher started counselling me, and in Grade 6, I made the huge decision, on my own, to move to Strathyre Children’s Home in Kensington. This was the best decision as it enabled me to find the person that I actually am.
“Strathyre is a big family for me. I enjoy living with the girls and we support each other. As one of the older girls, I am able to help others to find out who they are and to identify their strengths. I enjoy being an example to those younger than me.
“Unfortunately, Strathyre is closing at the end of the year: I was very stressed about this and where I would go. But I have found a family where I can stay next year, so now I can concentrate on my studies and getting the best marks possible to get into Sports Management at UJ or Boston.
“Jeppe Girls is also a loving family for me. It’s a space where I can put out my ideas and be myself. For a time, I was very angry, and I fought against the system, but I now appreciate how much it offers me. The teachers are so willing to help us do our best, they give us extra lessons and stay after school to help us. They also help us with internet access when we need it.
“As a Ruth First scholar, it feels good to be part of a sisterhood. I love coming to the mentorship programme on a Saturday into a casual supportive environment, where we have fun and learn new skills, like yoga, meditation and how to de-stress. I then teach the girls at Strathyre what I learned at school – I love being a teacher.
“The most inspiring person I know is my friend Amelia at Strathyre. She is actually younger than me, but she has been through so much. She motivates me and has taught me to open up, and see things in a positive way, with a positive eye. She encourages me to reach my goals and push myself to do better.”
Aasia, we salute you! Your resilience and resourcefulness are an inspiration – and we wish you every success for your future.