By Lane Richmond

This week, a team of researchers from the Eswatini Economic Policy Analysis and Research Centre (SEPARC) visited Sigangeni High School in the Hhohho Region to motivate learners and inform them of available opportunities for their future careers.

The school’s principal Mr Nxumalo informed the team that a lot of the learners lack direction when it comes to following their dreams and achieving personal success. The principal seemed excited to have the researchers visit the school to talk to the learners, and he mentioned that he usually hires someone once a year to come and motivate the learners.

The team encouraged the learners to think outside the box, and to not limit themselves to the typical career paths of their surroundings. Most of the researchers discussed their own experiences of working hard and being accepted to graduate programmes, like Associate Researchers Gugulethu Mgabhi who has been accepted at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and Tanele Magongo who has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Illinois in the United States.

They spoke of the importance of defining one’s future, and then taking active steps to achieve it.  The team also emphasised the significance of surrounding oneself with positive influences that will help them realise their dreams. The team wanted the learners to know that they can always change their situation, they just have to believe they can do it and then just do it.

SEPARC’s interns from the United States discussed application requirements in the US, and the importance of prioritising education. They informed the learners about scholarship opportunities, and that many of the hundreds of US universities offer full tuition, accommodation, and monthly allowances for international students. They also discussed the importance of application essays in showcasing one’s individuality, background, and aspirations.

The team left hoping they had left an impact on some of the learners to push themselves to further their education, be quick to listen, to read everything, and to dream big. Furthermore, they hope that the learners will use their phones for more than WhatsApp messaging and Facebook, but to research ways to achieve their dreams. They hope that the learners will take advantage of the opportunities available, even abroad, to pursue careers that they maybe thought were impossible.