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A story from a Christel House South Africa graduate, Nontando

Story written by Nontando, a 2009 graduate of Christel House South Africa. She recently graduated from Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a degree in Biochemical Engineering and was hired by Chevron.

“Christel House - is it a school or a HOME? I have become the person I am not only because of the quality education I received, but most importantly because of the lifelong values and love that I inherited in my childhood at Christel House.

When I think of the paradox of my time at Christel House, I can't help but get butterflies in my tummy. It brings so many tears upon my eyes and gets my heart to pound because the young woman I've turned out to be today is through the values that brought transformation academically, emotionally and spiritually that were instilled in me from the age of 11. The beauty about Christel House was and is still to not only be equipped for excellent academics, but to face the world out there in terms of social responsibility to the people and environment.

Today, it’s easier for me to interact with other students from other cultures and countries because that was introduced to me as I grew up at Christel House. Wow, even thinking about the great seeds that were planted in me brings so much joy because talents and skills that I never thought I had, came about. At first, I could not speak in English but public speaking quickly became my second nature. Opportunities were created which were beyond my imagination, like going to the United States of America to attend Culver Summer Leadership Camp for two summers; giving speeches across my country and singing in an Opera production. I’m so grateful for my teachers, who were not only educators but parents, at times even opening their homes so that I might have a better study environment.  That is how much they wanted to see me go further in life. Even when I began studying at Cape Peninsula University of Technology two years ago, Christel House was still here, providing for my transportation and food.  I go back to Christel House when I can and volunteer as my way of giving back.

I lost my mother a few months ago and my blessed teacher from Christel House (Ms. Carmen B. and her family) stepped in to make sure I was ok and lacked for nothing. I thank God so much for giving a vision to Ms. Christel because thousands of lives are being changed. Although I have graduated from Christel House, the core values of respect, responsibility, independence and integrity are like my shadow, making me face every day as an independent young woman. I also have a different perspective about things in general. One of the many things I took with me from my time at Christel House is that poverty is not an excuse to deny a child a good education and life principles, especially when a mission of transformation is laid as the foundation.  That mission is TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY.  My heart praises God for the love and warmth I received and still receive from Christel House.”

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