My name is Clamantia and my surname is Mathebula. I am 14 year old girl who had a terrible school record from the very start.

I used to bully people. I made fun of other people. I intentionally misplaced the property of other people. I was not a good girl at all. My mind was full of bad things, angry things and sad things. I thought that being a daughter who is raised by a single parent meant that I am not important and that I meant nothing in this world. This was made worse by the fact that I sometimes had to go to bed with a grumbling stomach. My mother tried to get me and my brother to bed with full stomachs but she was not always able to do this. Sometimes she found extra work, like washing clothes for other people so she could earn money to buy our school uniforms and food for us to eat. I was so sad and mad all the time because of my situation at home, that I just wanted to quit everything. I had no hope.

One day I learned about Keep the Dream 196, “A Children’s Life Skills Project that has a comprehensive integrated model of training, care and support for all children, particularly orphan and vulnerable children and their caregivers. A model which incorporates providing a safety net at all levels to assist the child to become resilient and an active member of society.”

Through Keep the Dream 196 I learned about a program called Scouts. It was then that I met someone who really changed my life. This person, a worker at the Ekhurleni Center for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, is a very kind person. He is a person with dignity and respect. His name is Sunnyboy Shai, the troop leader of the Seeds of Light Scouts, at The Center in Acornhoek, Limpopo Province.

Everyday Sunnyboy told me not to give up, to never give up. He told me that I am a very focused, talented, organized and reliable person who is too strong to let her background determine her future. I could say that I was simply raised by this person as he has been like a father to me. He supported me, gave me what I needed for school, he even gave me lunch money when I needed it.

I really admire Sunnyboy so much. There is no one like him. No one else has ever played such a large role in my life. You may look all around the world, other planets, universes, oceans and deserts and you will never find someone like him. He is a father, a grandfather, a comforter, an advisor. He is like a precious light out of darkness. He helped me to strive and accomplish many things in my life and when I needed him most he was there. Through Sunnyboy and the Scouts, I learned about hard work and effort and my life suddenly changed from bad to good.

After the first time I was introduced to the Scouts I started becoming a person who is loyal, trusted, useful, courteous, and thrifty. I started to have fun. I learned to have fun with others. I watched the behavior of others, by watching I learned to behave like a good person. At Scouts, we are given time to sit with each other by a fire, singing songs together. We are taught skills for our lives. I am grateful to Scouts and Sunnyboy for giving me a new chance to live a powerful life.