David and Mom at graduation
  • David and Mom at graduation

I am getting more and more excited about starting university in September.

I was a teenage mother; I had my first son when I was 18. By world standards that is probably not too young, but in Canada it is considered very young to be a mother. I was quite poor, and had trouble feeding myself and my son from day to day. It was difficult facing prejudice on the public transit system, and embarrassing to have to line up at food banks in order to eat. People thought nothing of insulting me to my face, and calling me horrible names. I was proud of my son, and proud to be a mother, but from day to day it could be very humbling. I lived on less than $9000 a year for six years.

I had left school to give birth to my child, but I was determined to go back to school. I tried three times, at three different schools to return, but they were not successful attempts. It is difficult to prioritize education when you are hungry, and need to find affordable shelter. I took pride in keeping my son well-fed and well-dressed, but I lost 30 pounds, and had trouble paying my rent. Finally, I decided to concentrate on working, and finding suitable child care for my son. I worked at 3 or 4 jobs simultaneously, and juggled my schedule accordingly. I was lucky to have friends who assisted me in finding a subsidized child care spot for my son at a government-run daycare near my home. It was very hard work, but I was proud of myself for persevering. I met my husband at a function for my trade union, and we were married when my son turned six.

My older son is now 18 years old, and is getting ready to attend college in September. The photo below is of he and I at his high school graduation, where he won a bursary. I am so proud of him. It is difficult as a parent to raise a child, but when one is poor, it is much more difficult. He is a good son; well-behaved, polite, hard-working and respectful. He has his life before him, and he has all of the tools to succeed. He encouraged me to apply as a Mature Student, and helped me fill out the numerous forms required to apply for the program that caught my interest.

I am starting the Conflict Studies Honours degree in September 2010, at St. Paul's University in Ottawa, Canada, after waiting 20 years to go to university. My area of focus is Gender Conflict and Labour Conflict, and I can't wait! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, and empowering women all over the world to do the same.


What a powerful story. You rose against adversity, and having done so with a child in tow, is nothing less than commendable.

When i think of strong women, you are it.

Congratulations for getting a place in University.

Kind regards,


Thanks for sharing your story with us, it's very inspirational. You are a good example of a very strong woman. Congratulations on getting a place in university! Feel free to join our discussions and post to your journal!

What a story. The best part about it that your dream of going to university has come true. It's never too late.

Best of luck to both of you and yes keep us posted :)


With best wishes,

Nusrat Ara 


Thank you Nyambura, Anna, and Nusrat,

I so appreciate the words of support! As an older student, I am a little nervous about being in school with many students who are the age of my son, but I also know that as a mother, I know how to work hard! I will continue to be inspired by the wonderful stories and resources of the women who write for Pulse Wire.

thank you again!


Pax Feminina

blessed be, Pax Feminina

Peace! Paix! Paz! Shalom! Salaam! Friede! Mir! Heiwa! Aman Malay! Ashtee! Damai! Ets'a'an Olal! Hau! Iri'ni! K'é! Maluhia! Nabad-Da! Olakamigenoka! Pingan! Shanti! Uxolo!

My mom was also a single parent, not once but twice in her life, and I've watched her stumble and then rise once more. Reading your story made me smile; I am so happy for you! Keep rising and shining and learning. There are no limits.

Hi Vida,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad to hear that your mother overcame some of her struggles as well. Being a single mother can be so stressful in so many ways, but it helped define my character in a good way.

thank you again for reading and commenting! I look forward to reading your writing!

Cheers, PaxFeminina

blessed be, Pax Feminina

Peace! Paix! Paz! Shalom! Salaam! Friede! Mir! Heiwa! Aman Malay! Ashtee! Damai! Ets'a'an Olal! Hau! Iri'ni! K'é! Maluhia! Nabad-Da! Olakamigenoka! Pingan! Shanti! Uxolo!

this is the only way to go. i mean when you look yourself in the mirror as you look for people to blame. you will disocover there are so many. and it all start with you! that is why when you decide to take matters in your own hands to develop further everything just works for the best. i wish you all the best and look forward to hearing from you. james ouma

James Ouma,

Life's a Song Sing it, dance it, live it!