Student Snapshot: Meet Zukisa!

July 20, 2016

Zukisa told us that when she first started the Life Development course, she figured it would be like all the other programs she’d participated in. “But this one was different. I didn’t even expect that, but it’s different!” Encouraged to hear her say that, we asked what makes it a different experience. She responded: “Since day one, the thing that kept me coming each and every day is that I saw change.” For the first time, what she was learning and experiencing was actually transforming her life. And that is the best kind of different!

When we first met Zukisa, her sadness was tangible. It was evident in the way she carried herself, the look in her eyes, and how she interacted with others. But as the days and weeks went by, she began to open up and share about her past, which was riddled with abandonment, rejection, and verbal abuse. It had left a dark, heavy cloud of sadness over her heart, and left her feeling worthless and unimportant.

As the program progressed, Zukisa’s entire demeanor and presence changed radically. No exaggeration, she became one of the most joyful and engaged students in the class! Her enthusiasm for the subjects we were studying and the projects she was working on became contagious!


While she’s changed in countless ways, Zukisa says the area she sees the most growth is her self-esteem. It’s not just that she learned to think positively about herself. She actually, for the first time, processed and worked through her past, and through the hurts that have kept her heart shackled for so long. “I learned things that I didn’t know about myself. I always thought ‘I’m OK,’ but I had a problem, because I was holding onto my past and I didn’t have any strategy to deal with it.” 

Our Life Development program equipped her with exactly that — the strategy to deal with her past in a healthy and constructive way. “I managed to deal with my past.  I no longer feel sad all the time. I start each new days as a fresh one. There’s something in me now that keeps me going, I don’t know how to express it. Back then I used to cry; I was sad; I was a dull person; I couldn’t shine. Although I had dreams, whenever I faced disappointment, I would always go back to my past. I wouldn’t try to deal with anything. Now I’ve found peace, ever since I started the program.”


Zukisa has a clear vision and dream for her life. Seeing how far she’s already come in a relatively short span of time, we know she has the potential to accomplish what she sets out to do. And we are cheering her on every step of the way!

“I want to be a motivational speaker. I want to change people’s lives. It would be the biggest goal if I could change one person. It would show that my story is not about me. I would like to share my story to make others stronger.”


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Student Snapshot: Meet Zukisa!