Nicky leading the way
I joined Bright Start when I was six years old. I didn’t know much about the decision at the time, but I know now that it was my parents and their commitment to my education that resulted in me being offered a place on the programme. That and the fact that, apparently, I showed some early promise! I have grown up my whole life in Imizamo Yethu, a township in Hout Bay. Both my parents are domestic workers. Life hasn’t always been easy but throughout my life they have given me the very best they can.
The impact that Bright Start and my sponsors have had on my life has been pretty huge – not just in terms of school and my education, but in terms of how I have developed and grown as a person. They helped me discover my strengths and my weaknesses, and everything in between. In that sense, Bright Start has been like a parent to me.
I went to Kronendal pre-primary in Hout Bay and loved being involved in as many aspects of school life as possible. I did well at Kronendal – well enough to earn a place at the German School (DSK) in Grade 5 – and so began an amazing and challenging journey. Suddenly I was at a school where the culture, language and education style were unfamiliar. I quickly learnt to speak German, but integrating and adjusting were a greater challenge, and took time and determination.
In year 11, I was selected to represent the DSK on a school trip to Germany. It was incredibly exciting but tainted by the fact that I had to raise funds for the trip. The only way I would be able to go would be to reach out and ask for help. With the help of Bright Start and the DSK, I set up a crowd-funding page and was so delighted when the German community and the wider Cape Town community came together to make my trip possible.
It was a truly life-changing experience. Germany opened my eyes to a world of opportunity and possibilities, and it was definitely a culture shock. I discovered a whole other world out there – one where townships like ours didn’t exist – and it gave me the stimulus to truly better myself. I decided I wanted to go to university after leaving school and to study a subject that would allow me to experience more of the world.
And then Covid hit. Our school shut and we had to study online. I couldn’t participate without access to the internet. Once again I asked for help. Bright Start supported me and found a sponsor who provided me with data while my school established its own data distribution system.
When it came to applying for university, without the necessary resources at home, Erin at Bright Start was invaluable in helping me with the process. When eventually I sat my final exams, I was in the fortunate position to have received three offers from prominent universities.
So here I am today, studying for a BA in International Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, and laying down the foundations for an incredible and exciting future. I have big dreams and I don’t think I know where they end – they certainly have no limit. Bright Start helped me see and shape my future, and with their help I am realising my end goal – to succeed by getting the education I need to have a brighter future.
With so much gratitude to my family, Bright Start, my sponsors and DSK for helping me get here.