MUTARE – Thanks to her passion and persistence, this young woman has elevated her position from being an uneducated house maid to the educated owner of a successful nursery school.
Joyce Tekeshe – I want to encourage other women to take heart and to pursue their life dreams.Joyce Tekeshe – I want to encourage other women to take heart and to pursue their life dreams.
The third born girl in a humble family of 12, Joyce Tekeshe (37) had a passion for children from day one.
Mother of four, Tekeshe is married to a high school teacher and grew up in Gombakomba village, in Mutare South constituency.
Because her financially-strapped parents concentrated on educating their sons, Tekeske only managed to achieve grade four at Dangare Primary school in 1987. After that she stayed at home helping her mother.
In 1991, the 13-year-old Tekeshe thankfully found a job as a house maid/child carer – thanks to a relative in Mutare. It was while working in this house and taking care of her employers’ three children that she started studying again and eventually completed the Ordinary Level exams in 1997 at Elise Gledhill School.
In 1998 her employer decided to leave for the USA and Tekeshe was concerned that this would mark the end of her life. However, it turned out to be the turning point – as the family secured a place for her at Marymount Teachers’ College before they left the country. There she managed to get her teaching diploma in 2001.
“Due to my passion for children, I spent the next 10 years teaching lower grades,” explained Tekeshe in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean.
In 2012 she decided to quit teaching and establish her own nursery school – The Early Bird Nursery School – in Mutare. She obtained financial support from her husband and the $8,000 received from the sale of her car.
The nursery school presently has 50 children. She employs two qualified teachers as well as a driver and a caretaker. She does the administration and occasionally teaches the children as well.
“Our aim as Early Bird Nursery School is to provide professional care for children aged three months to five years in a safe, happy and stimulating environment. We hope to instil and develop a sound basis for the social, physical and intellectual development of all children placed in our care,” she said.
“Throughout the day every child is offered a wide variety of activities to encourage and enhance their development. These include creative sessions, role-play, singing, games, music and movement,” she added.
She says that the children enrolled enjoy a range of activities in a fully enclosed and secure garden.
“Children learn and develop at their own pace. No child is pushed and when they are ready to start reading and writing, we are there to guide them along, supported by our home reading scheme,” she explained.
She encourages other, desperate women not feel discouraged by their present circumstances. Today Tekeshe is regarded as one of the most successful women in Mutare and her nursery school has become popular with parents owing to the good results achieved.
“When I look back at my humble beginnings, at the way I was raised, I sometimes shed a tear. I want to encourage other women to take heart and to pursue their life’s dreams,” she said.
Funds permitting, Tekeshe is looking forward to establishing a private college offering high school lessons. The Zimbabwean