From Graduating High School to Volunteering at Shepherd Secondary School: A Letter from Joachim

July 12, 2019

“Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”

–J. Nozipo Maraire (Zimbabwean doctor and writer)

Thabo Ncube, our Country Director, referenced this quote when sharing the importance of bringing the stories and experiences of our scholars to our TFFT community. Their significant growth is our legacy and impact as an organization. When we share the progress of our scholars, it is necessary that our scholars’ voices are the main part of this narrative. There is no better way to gain insight into how the provision of quality education empowers our scholars and alumni than to hear first-hand from our alumni. Today’s blog post features a letter from Joachim Filbert. Joachim’s story provides a window into his world and demonstrates the ways in which TFFT has transformed his aspirations and actions.

“My name is Joachim Filbert and I am a TFFT Alumni.  I joined The Foundation For Tomorrow’s scholarship program in 2007 when I was in Class 2. With The Foundation For Tomorrow’s support I was able to graduate high school in May 2019 with a dream of becoming a geologist. 

I can’t put into words the level of support I received through the years from The Foundation For Tomorrow. I felt a desire in my heart to do something for my community following my experience and I was so happy to find out that The Foundation For Tomorrow’s scholarship program was organizing internships for its alumni at the same time. When TFFT shared the news about the need for an additional teacher at Shepherd School to support students in the area of Biology and Chemistry, I was more than ready. Shepherd Secondary school is one of TFFT’s partner schools, hosting a number of TFFT’s scholars.

I loved the challenge, and I was very happy to finally do something that touches the life of another. I have to admit, though, I was terrified. Terrified of the unknown and whether the students would understand my teaching, and improve in Biology and Chemistry as a result of my presence.

My fear started to go away the first day I stepped into the classrooms. It was very fascinating to observe the surprise on the students faces when they saw a teacher they considered to be very young when I introduced myself as a Biology and Chemistry teacher. Also, the students didn’t expect someone of my age to be capable of teaching these complex subjects. 

Thinking of how I should handle the task at hand, I made getting to know the students and learning their performance challenges my priority. As the days went by, I understood which students were not performing because they have so many family issues, which ones were not performing because they feel like they were forced to be in school, which ones were not performing because parents forced them to study a subject that is not of their interest, which students were not performing well because of lack of concentration in class, and which ones were not performing because of their learning style. I went further by learning how to inspire students’ learning and I organized my teaching and relationship with students in the way that respected general needs and individual needs of the students. Together with the help of teachers at Shepherd, this approach made my experience at the school very exciting. 

I learned that teachers are lifelong students, doing everything that students do and still appear in the classrooms and teach. Like every student, teachers spend most of their time reading, understanding, and retaining content that they break down to easily share with their students.

This experience didn’t just give me exposure, it taught me how to overcome my own fear through continuous learning and practice. Most importantly, it taught me the value of teachers. That, no matter what perception we might have about teachers, every one of them is trying to do the best they know how to help their students prosper. 

I appreciate TFFT for standing there for me as a parent, a friend, a teacher, a coach and a mentor. My life is this meaningful because of you. To everyone who is reading this blog THANK YOU, and I hope it inspires you to continue to do good in your community.”


TFFT Alumni

We have written about how our scholar support leads to alumni success in a separate blog post. To read more about Joachim and his journey with TFFT, click here. If you’d like to learn more about our other TFFT alumni pathways, read this blog post!