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Orphaned girl starts university in Zimbabwe at 14
By Teo Kermeliotis, for CNN
September 18, 2012 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Maud Chifamba, middle, started her studies in accounting September 10 at the University of Zimbabwe. Aged 14, she is the country's youngest ever university student.
- 14-year-old Maud Chifamba has been admitted to the University of Zimbabwe
- Maud, who is studying to be an accountant, is the youngest ever student in the country
- Unable to pay her school fees, the orphaned girl had to study alone at home
- She is being described as "confident, efficacious and unique"
(CNN) -- She grew up in grinding poverty, losing both her parents at a tender age but 14-year-old whizz-kid Maud Chifamba has defied adversity and hardship to break academic records.
Against all odds, the extremely bright teenager has written history as last week she became the youngest ever university student in Zimbabwe -- as well as the whole of southern Africa, according to education officials. Maud, who was born on November 19, 1997, has just started her studies toward a Bachelor of Accountancy Honors Degree at the University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest and most esteemed educational institution. Her intellectual prowess and hard work have earned her a four-year scholarship of nearly $10,000 after she excelled at last year's Advanced Level exams.
Now, one week into her new life at the university, softly-spoken Maud already feels settled."I'm really enjoying it," she says with striking modesty. "It's better than what I expected. I'm just enjoying all the lectures."
It really motivated me to work harder because there was no one to take care of me except myself.
But before deservedly claiming a spot inside the university's vast lecture halls, finding herself amongst much older students, Zimbabwe's wunderkind had to overcome tremendous financial and social challenges.
Born to a poor family in the Hunters resettlement community in Chegutu, central Zimbabwe, Maud lost her father when she was just five years old. Her mother also passed away last year. Her two brothers, who are general workers at a farm, were unable to pay the fees required to keep her at formal school so Maud started studying vigorously at home all by herself.
To be continued ...........