My name is Monalisa and my life is just like any other girl my age here in Livingstone, Zambia.
I am now in my senior year of high school and I have been living here since I was 13 years old. When I finish school I want to study to become a nurse.
I get up early, at 5 am, because there are many things to do before going to class: cleaning my room and other cleaning duties. School starts at 7 am and finishes at 1 pm, but as I am in my last year and I have the final exam of my grade coming up, we have extra lessons at school to prepare for the examination. This results in class ending at 4 pm instead.
When I return home after studying in the morning, I am in charge of preparing dinner. Well, it depends on the day because we are taking turns. The dinners are enjoyable as we all get together and we use this time to engage in conversation and talk about our day.
If you ask any Zambian person you will see that my life does not differ much from their life, at least as far as routine is concerned, but the truth is that there are some differences.
I do not live with my family, I live in Safe House. This is a house for girls and young women that are at risk of exclusion. This is why I still get to go to school, because where I was born there are no secondary schools, so I was not able to study to become a nurse there.
I do not live with my family, but I live with other girls who, like me, have not had an easy life. I also live with our Aunty, as we call her, and she is the person who takes care of us.
Here I not only have the opportunity to study, but I have learned to interact with other people, to become more tolerant and to concentrate on myself. I want to be the one who decides what to do with my life and not the other way around.