Published on http://blog.haliaccess.org
From an early age, Rodger Chinhangue followed his father around his rural South African community as he fixed neighbors’ plumbing and electrical issues. He developed a love of working with his hands and problem solving, and he later accompanied his father to his job to take on tasks himself.
Even so, growing up in the Nkomazi region of South Africa wasn’t easy. Coming from a Mozambican immigrant family, he remembers facing discrimination and xenophobia, “Many people said foreigners are not allowed to have proper education.” But Rodger didn’t let that distract him from his school work or from his passions, “I focused myself on education and left the challenges we faced in our community, like being teased about being a foreigner.”
In grade 8, Rodger was selected for Imagine Scholar. As part of the only after-school program in the region dedicated to harnessing the potential of underserved youth, he utilized the resources and mentorship to become an empowered community leader. “Ever since I’ve come to Imagine Scholar, I’ve realized what life is. I was a smart kid but I didn’t know how to think for myself and how to think for the future. Imagine Scholar gave me a railway on which to travel and guidance on how to shape my life.”