In a world that is still predominantly male dominated, when one woman stands for her rights and those of her fellow counterparts, it should be celebrated. We celebrate one such woman today -Monica Tonodzai.
From a young age Monica’s potential was always destined for more than the small town of Marondera in Zimbabwe. Raised by her single mother after her father’s death when she was only 5years of age, Monica’s determination for a better life for her family and her mother enabled her to achieve stellar results in her academics. However after passing her A’levels with flying colours, Monica’s dreams of attending university at the University of Zimbabwe were dumped in the mud as the economy made it difficult for her dear mother to raise the necessary funds for her tuition. Not giving up on her dreams Monica tried her luck by applying for the Higherlife Foundation Scholarship, and that was the turning point of her life.
Under the scholarship, Monica was able to pursue a degree in Sociology and developed a strong desire to use her story to inspire other scholars and ensure that they too could reach their true potential. She got her chance through her first job as a Graduate Trainee for Higherlife Foundation in 2010. Under Higherlife Foundation, Monica served in two different provinces offering mentorship and training to children of the Foundation, and through hard work and a passion to serve her community, evolved within the organization and rose to different ranks before transitioning to the role she has today of Senior Associate for the Gender & Advocacy Desk.
Through this role, Monica is responsible for ensuring the mainstreaming of gender in all programming interventions for the Foundation in Burundi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, a noteworthy task.
“I do not take it as a job but I take this as an opportunity to pursue my personal goals and purpose of enabling women and girls to access opportunities to contribute meaningfully in their life,” says Monica who attributes her success to God who continues to order our steps in accordance to His will and purpose for our lives.
Throughout her journey, Monica has learnt to pursue her passion, be focused and intentional and work hard despite circumstances to be successful. “Success is intentional, Relevance is intentional, and Significance is intentional. In life you have to be intentional and pursue what you want. You may not be in the best circumstances to achieve this but if you focus and consistently pursue, opportunities will come your way.”
Looking back at her life the always cheerful Monica reflects on all she has overcome through her faith in God and strong desire to help change the world for women and girls in Africa. Through life changing mentorship and guidance from Higherlife Foundation, who gave her the opportunity to write her own story, Monica uses her voice to inspire more students to achieve their goals. “Being an alumnus has thrust a great responsibility upon my life because when I see the Higherlife Foundation Fellows, I see young brother and sisters who require support and mentorship for them to realise their personal goals upon their life.”
It is clear this is just the beginning for Monica and we are excited to see what more she will do.