Avela’s Story

From a humble upbringing in Vrygrond to becoming the first in her family to attend university, read Avela’s story of resilience and transformation.


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In the heart of the Vrygrond community, Avela Booi’s journey is a shining testament to determination, resilience, and the transformative impact of educational opportunities. Born and raised in a modest three-room shack, Avela, along with her two siblings, was brought up by her single mother, a devoted caregiver who worked tirelessly to provide for her family.

Avela’s introduction to the Sozo Foundation came in 2017 when she was in Grade 7. At that pivotal moment, she made a life-changing decision—to apply for the afterschool programme. “I applied at Sozo because I knew that my mom would not be able to afford the resources that Sozo offers, such as computers, tutoring, and textbooks. We don’t have a big house, and I don’t really have my own personal space,” Avela shared.

Avela’s high school journey faced formidable challenges, particularly exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. She had to transition from the normal class attendance routine of five days per week to just two days per week during her Grade 10 year. This abrupt shift meant a substantial workload crammed into limited time, and the pressure mounted in Grade 11 as she had to catch up on most of her schoolwork to prepare for her final Grade 12 examination. This commitment led to late evenings, which, in an unsafe community, was less than ideal.

In 2022, during her matric year, just when Avela thought things couldn’t get more challenging, South Africa’s load shedding crisis resurfaced. This not only hindered her evening studies at home but also disrupted her learning at school, as her school lacked generators or alternatives to cope with the load shedding crisis. Despite these formidable obstacles, Avela’s unwavering determination, bolstered by the support of her family and Sozo, propelled her through her matric year with exceptional marks that secured her access to university. Today, Avela stands as the first in her family to attend university. She is a proud student at the University of Stellenbosch, pursuing a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) as she works towards her dream of becoming an inspiring educator. Her mission extends beyond personal success; Avela aspires to inspire those who, like her, grew up in Vrygrond, facing similar or even more daunting challenges, to become the best versions of themselves, irrespective of the hurdles they encounter along the way.

Avela Booi’s story is a beacon of hope and possibility—a testament to the transformative power of education and the unwavering spirit of those who dare to dream. Her journey is a reminder that with the right opportunities and support, individuals like Avela can overcome adversity and blaze a trail towards a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their communities.


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