Children: Let Them Amaze You
Ten-year-old takes road less traveled
Chido Govera lived a tough life as an orphan child in Zimbabwe. Her mother died of AIDS when she was seven. She had never known her father. Suddenly she was responsible for her five-year-old brother and her blind grandmother. This meant that she had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to hunt for firewood, fetch water, work in the fields, and try to attend school in the midst of all this. Aside from the perpetual exhaustion and hunger of her existence, she suffered physical abuse from her extended family. One day, when Chido was ten years old, a relative showed up to “rescue” her. The deal was to marry this relative’s friend, a man thirty years older than Chido, who could provide a way out of her miserable life. Most girls in a situation like this would take the offer. Chido refused. Here’s an excerpt from an article in The Guardian with what happened next:
"I did not go because I realised if I got married, then I was leaving my grandmother and my little brother alone and I wouldn't be able to help them any more.
"When I was eight years old I'd told myself, 'I want to help other young orphans so they do not have to experience what I was experiencing.' I thought, 'If I get married, am I achieving that or not?' And it was clear that was not the way to go. I didn't go to meet the guy and my relative told me, 'I tried to help you, you turned that down and from now on you're pretty much on your own.'"
Today things looks very different for Chido Govera. At 28 she is a successful farmer, campaigner and educator with her own foundation, The Future of Hope. She has trained nearly 1,000 people in communities in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and South Africa. Her work has reached schools and communities in India, Aboriginals in Australia and entrepreneurs in the US and around Europe. The key to this one-woman revolution is mushrooms.
The rest of the article tells you how mushrooms became the thing that saved Chido. The end of the article reveals Chido’s astounding attitude that helped her to overcome adversity:
"I strongly believe that, regardless of what is happening in politics – not just in Zimbabwe but in many different parts of the world – if we want to change things, we will need to go to the grassroots and teach them to stand up for themselves, because if we can empower them beyond being a victim of a political situation, then we are making change happen. "The reason why I go into communities, select groups of young orphans, empower those and bring them back into the communities to inspire change there, is because we need to change the way change is viewed. People say politicians or the grownups or the successful ones are going to change things in the country, but I think everyone has a part to contribute."
Zimbabwe's politicians are sometimes accused of being imprisoned in the past. This is not something Govera herself could be accused of as she looks back on that 10-year-old who, one Wednesday, decided to take the road less travelled.
"I learned to redefine myself regardless of what happened to me when I was a kid," she reflects. "I've been able to reclaim myself. This is something that's required for every individual. We are not what happened to us. "From those experiences there's some kind of lesson that inspires me to do what I do now, but I'm not back in the moment when I was 10. I've dealt with that. I just look at the future with a new hope. I'm 100% sure that I am not going to be one of those women who say, 'Things are the way they are because I grew up as an orphan.'"
To learn more about Chido's organization, The Future of Hope, and how you can help by volunteering, hosting a center, or becoming a business partner, click here.