Adversity struck for Runyararo when she was a 13-year-old primary school student in rural Zimbabwe. She was top of her class.
But when her father was diagnosed with tuberculosis, Runyararo’s chance of finishing her education seemed entirely lost. Her family had no resources to draw on and she was forced to stop school and work in the fields alongside her mother.
Runyararo, one of the first girls supported by Camfed through secondary school.
Runyararo is now a medical doctor, saving lives daily.
"I used to go to school barefooted, with my face full of hunger.”
In 1993, she wrote to Camfed founder, Ann Cotton, “If only I get the chance I will do something great.” Camfed covered all the costs Runyararo needed to return to school, including a school uniform, shoes and stationery. She excelled at secondary school and won a scholarship to study medicine at Harare University.
Today, Runyararo is a pediatrician. She has a deep seated empathy for the most needy and vulnerable of her patients. Runyararo relates, “When I am at the hospital and I see a nurse being unkind to a rural woman I say, “Respect her, she could be my mother.” And they are shocked because they do not think a woman in a white coat comes from such a background.”
With a shared background of rural poverty, Camfed alumnae like Runyararo understand from first-hand experience the hardship and indignity of poverty. Runyararo is a member of CAMA, Camfed’s unique and powerful alumnae network, now over 33,000-strong and growing. An unstoppable force for positive and sustainable change, CAMA members are multiplying the benefits of education as role models and mentors to marginalised girls in their communities.
Read more inspirational stories
Check out more inspirational stories of Camfed-supported girls and CAMA members