WHEN Raylinta Afu walked on the stage at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Graduation Day ceremony at the Maranatha Hall, she couldn’t help but smile with a bubbled with excitement.
Afu is a 29-year-old young mother who dropped out of high school and got pregnant. It was a devastating development of how to become a mother.
Eventually, she found her way back, and she finally undergone her preliminary and foundation courses at the University of South Pacific (USP), Honiara Campus she had started decades ago.
This year, Raylinta celebrated her academic achievement with two certificate awards of Diploma in Administration and Diploma in Finance from the Solomon Islands National University, Kukum Campus in Honiara.
“I am a proud mother today, being able to complete two of my programs which I have spend three years of engagement in my studies. As a mother, I believed I had to put myself to test in order to achieve my academic aims and objectives.
Afu and her husband had long raised their kid to place education first, so it wasn’t easy to see to actually achieve her academic dream.
“As someone who have not completed my fifth form in high school and got married at a very young age, I thought that I would not go anywhere further in education. I started to lose hope taking care of my son in Kwai Island in the Malaita province.
“All those years staying back in the village, while my husband worked in Honiara, I never lose thought of my academic dream and my aim was to achieve something valuable in the future.
“Some time later, my son and I moved here to Honiara to settle down with my husband. In here (Honiara) I was then encouraged and advised by my husband to further upgrade my academic results based on preliminary and foundation courses offered at the USP centre in Honiara.
“Later I decided to do further studies at the Solomon Islands National University; doing two programs. I have gone through a lot of thoughts, whether to study both programs together and I later came up with the decision that I would gave it a try and which I finally accomplished today.
“As a mother, I have put more of my effort and time in my studies and this had become one of the main challenges that I faced. Despite these challenges I finally made it through and I would like to say a very big thanks to my family who supported me in all possible ways through my years of studies.”
Although she enrolled in both program, it has always been Raylintas dream to work in both areas of administration and finance.
With both diplomas in hand, Raylinta Afu is excited about career opportunities. She’s interested in finance and administration careers and says she is more ready to perform her qualified skill and knowledge to the socio-economic development of the country.
Afu’s school dropout and early pregnancy experience changed her life — and goals and she would like to encourage other women and girls in the country to learn from her personal story.
“I would like to encourage other women and girls out there to see my story as an example that you could learn from and have in mind the strongest mind-set to never give up and strive for more achievements in the future,” she told Solomon Women.