“Nursing is a calling…,” Ednas said and smiled briskly. It is a calling, she added, that she heard at a tender age when she was still in primary school. In fact, according to Ednas, nursing is a passion that is embedded in her DNA and when she was young, she always had this strong urge to help the sick and the wounded. That same passion lights up her face when she talks about her vision in nursing and how she wants to help build a better healthy community in her village. Ednas has just completed her nursing course and is awaiting to sit for her examinations to acquire a Medical License. She can now see her dream and aspirations taking shape but four years ago those dreams were in ruins.
Ednas’ education in secondary school was a zigzag ride with more downs than ups. The wildest challenge she faced was financial. Her parents, like the majority of the people in her village, are small-time farmers. They grow just enough crops to feed the family and, whenever possible, sell part of the farm produce to earn money. The little money that Ednas’ father and mother realized from selling their harvests was used to send Ednas and her 9 siblings to school.
“My secondary school days were tough,” Ednas recalled, “My parents could not afford to buy the basic necessities for my education and I really struggled but I told myself not to let that get to me.” Some of her friends who were in the same situation dropped out of school because they could not handle the pressure but Ednas fought on. Ednas was bent on fulfilling her vision of becoming a nurse. She explained that it was that determination which saw her completing her secondary school and selected to pursue a course in Nursing and Midwifery at a public university.
She was very excited since it was the moment that she had been looking for but the excitement was not to last for long. The tuition fees for her college education was too high and Ednas knew that her parents would never afford it. Worse still, she had no relatives who could come to her aid to relieve that problem. Ednas had one immediate option – to apply for a government loan. Fortunately, Ednas was among the students who were granted a government loan but then a new issue cropped up. She had been offered a partial loan which meant that she still had a huge chunk of tuition fees that she had to handle on her own.
“I was required to pay more than 300, 000 Kwacha (about USD500) per year. It was a shock and I feared for my future,” Ednas said. Although that amount may seem meagre, in a country where the average person lives on less than one dollar a day, it is a huge sum. Furthermore, considering that Ednas’ parents simply relied on small-scale farming to put food on the table, it was impossible for them to raise such an exorbitant figure. Ednas was in a fix. She was in danger of withdrawing from her course if she could not raise the balance.
She needed a remedy quickly.
Ednas disclosed that she could see her dream slip away. It seemed like her problems had suddenly tripled and she could sense her vision toppling into the abyss. It was during that dilemma that she was made aware of our university scholarship programme. Without haste, she applied for support and in 2016 she was offered a scholarship. Her hope, which had once faltered, sprung back to life. Ednas could not hide her joy. The scholarship was a crucial stage for her because…
“All my worries vanished. I was now assured of completing my course,” she admitted. Most importantly, she was guaranteed of achieving the childhood aspiration of being a nurse. Furthermore, as a nurse, Ednas added, she wishes to help people in her community access free medical advice on crucial health matters. Actually, a lot of people have already started flocking to her to seek medical advice on various issues ranging from Family Planning and others. Ednas helps them for free and she has become a trusted medical expert in the village.
Ednas explained that there are several misconceptions related to health and medicine that a lot of people in rural areas believe in. Some of them are dangerous. Her goal is to help the community thwart such misconception by providing expert medical advice. Furthermore, Ednas envisions herself building a health facility in her community to provide accessible medical assistance to her village. She said many people from the village travel long distances to access medical help, which forces some of the people to opt for traditional healers.
“I could not have reached this destination without There is Hope’s scholarship. I wanted to become a nurse and now I am. I want the nation and my community to receive the full benefits of my nursing profession. Today, it begins,” she closed.