16-year-old Faiza was heartbroken when her father's store shut down and he was unable to pay her school fees. Although she was able to register for her final exams, the school told her that she could no longer attend and she felt hopeless. How would she be able to study for the exams if she couldn't even go to school? Faiza felt depressed and was about to give up, when a poster caught her eye as she walked past her local library. The poster was of a young girl called Malala. She was holding a book, and the caption beneath her read:
“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
The girl in the poster looked confident and hard-working, and in this moment Faiza realised that she could be like this girl too. Faiza loved learning and she didn't have to let her father's misfortune destroy her future.
That afternoon, Faiza visited her two closest school friends and told them of her idea. She asked them if they would teach her what they learnt at school each afternoon. That way, her friends could test their knowledge, and she could learn new things.
The next few months were challenging and there were many moments where Faiza wondered if she could carry on. However, every afternoon without fail, Faiza met her friends at the park and the girls would study. People began to notice how hard the girls were working, and a local teacher who had retired offered to help Faiza with her final exam preparation. She was impressed with Faiza's dedication and her passion for education.
As the exams approached, Faiza began to feel nervous, but every time that negative voice told her she couldn't do it, she remembered the words of the brave girl on the poster. As she remembered those words she realised that she had the power to change her world.
A few months after her exams she got the letter that she was hoping for - she learned that she had passed her exams. Faiza and her family were so happy. Despite her difficult circumstances, Faiza chose to believe in herself. Now her dream is to one day become a teacher, and to inspire other young girls to follow their dreams.
Faiza’s story teaches us Springsters that even though sometimes things don't go according to plan, and obstacles seem to appear out of nowhere, it's important not to blame yourself and to just do the best you can.