"I was born in Zimbabwe but both my parents died before I was 12," says Mavis Makope. "My sister took care of me but, when political upheavals caused the schools in our area to shut and conditions became very bad, we slipped into South Africa and lived as illegal immigrants.
"For two years we lived in Mpumalanga and I did not go to school. When I moved to Randfontein I resumed my schooling but was a long way behind the other kids. But I worked very hard, caught up and matriculated.
"There is no doubt, the incident that changed the course of my life took place on a Monday afternoon, when my best friend persuaded me to accompany her to a meeting run by Carryou Ministry," she says.
"They took me under their wing and even arranged financial support so I could further my studies."
Not a legal resident
But Mavis was still not a legal resident in South Africa, despite Carryou's efforts to get her issued with the relevant documentation. In addition, recent changes to the law require that certain applications for permanent residency be done from outside the country.
"It is a complicated and expensive process," says Carryou Ministry General Manger, Rev. Lawrence Mabaso, "but we see promise in Mavis and are determined to help her. We had to find a way to get her back to Zimbabwe where she could start the process of getting police clearances, having medical examinations and gathering all the relevant documentation needed to make the application in Harare.
"With the help of Sue and her donors we were able to raise the approximately R7000 needed to get her back to Zimbabwe and cover the other costs," he says. "I am not sure how long the entire process will take but it is well underway and we are looking forward to her return so she can resume her education plans."