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"Zahara's Dream: Mentoring Beyond Borders"



In their own words: Zahara's Dream Mentorship Experience by Shandu, (Mentee, Zimbabwe) and Lebo (Mentor, South Africa)


Lebo's Perspective (Mentor)

When I first got introduced to the Zahara’s Dream Community through a tweet shared by my fellow Zahara’s Dream Mentor and Sister, Michel Mozundo (Zimbabwe), I didn’t anticipate the magnitude of the program as well as the impact it would have on my journey. I was paired with a hardworking, streetwise and very smart young trailblazer, Shadurukai Chiuswa from Zimbabwe, who is driven and destined to excel in her chosen path.


Walking this journey with Shandu has tested one’s ability to adapt to changes and learn from them.


We set our goals and what we both wanted to achieve from our journey as mentor and mentee, and as we were walking our journey and striving to achieve our goals, changes happened. Shandu moved to the US to pursue her academics at Dartmouth College, after losing her grandmother who was her pillar of strength, right in the midst of the global pandemic. You can imagine, adapting to a global lockdown, right in the midst of so much uncertainty and having to then move to another continent could not have been an easy adjustment to deal with for many. Shandukurai still remained adamant about her personal, professional and academic endeavours and persevered against all odds.


Our mentoring journey really became more of a sisterhood, because I felt I could also share some of my day-to-day challenges and milestones with her, and she did not have to feel alone in her journey, as our experiences are similar. We spoke a lot about adapting to the new norm especially in her context of adapting to a new country during a period where she was grieving her grandmother, and the anxieties and fears that came with it. Mental health was of utter importance to us, which was a new addition to our mentorship journey, which we had not factored in when we were aligning our goals and plans.


To date, I am eternally grateful for being paired with Shandu, and feel blessed to have watched her grow and become more resilient in our year together. I appreciate her kind nature and persevering spirit, as well as her very unapologetic self. This is one young woman who has so much to look forward to as she is investing so much of herself into achieving her goals to become a financial analyst and an entrepreneur.


Shandu’s Perspective (Mentee)

When I began this journey with Lebo, I assumed that it was solely career focused. This journey turned out to be more than my career but my life journey as a whole and how I was transitioning and revising my goals to fit my new environment. I understood that mentorship isn’t a structured relationship that follows a manual. It is more about authenticity and willingness to learn in a form that works best for you. For us, that was sisterhood. I have grown in more ways than imagined and feel that I am more than ready to deal with my journey to becoming a financial analyst and entrepreneur. My biggest take away from this journey is that mentorship in our context has been ignited through the powerful force of sisterhood which has united us, two African women who didn’t know one another, but managed to look beyond distance and the borders, to develop and nurture a relationship. This is shaped by empathy and authenticity, which we have for each other’s journeys.


Lebo & Shandu, June 2021 Mentee-Mentor, 2020-2021 Cohort #BeYouPowerfully #WhenSheRisesWeAllRise For more information on our mentorship program, email us at Beyoupowerfully@zaharasdream.com


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