Submitted by:  Natasha Koester


To the little girl who has big dreams

Never stop dreaming

To the young girl who thinks she amounts to nothing

You matter

To the mother who doesn’t know where the next meal will come from

There is hope

To the child who called a shack a home

There is hope

“Easy to talk when not in the same boat, right?  Well, I was that girl.  A girl who did not stop dreaming and chasing it to this day.”

These are the words of Natasha Koester.  She grew up in dire circumstances but never stopped striving to realise her dream.  Every time she suffered a setback, she picked herself up and moved forward towards her goal.  One step at a time…

“…Home was one shack after another.”

During her growing-up years, home was one shack after another.  The walls were covered with cardboard and newspaper to keep out the cold.  There was always only one bedroom, which she and her two siblings shared with their parents.  All three of the children slept on one three-quarter bed.  She says: “I know times when you have to eat what you can get and not what you desire.”

“I didn’t believe I would amount to anything.

She was bullied and humiliated at school because her head was covered with boils.  All her hair had to be cut off for them to heal.  She says: “I never felt beautiful because of questions like, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’

Her experiences led her to make some poor choices.  “I didn’t believe I would amount to anything.  Because of this, I always fell for the smooth talkers.  Always got played.”  Natasha became a teen mom, but lost her first, premature, baby.  She fell pregnant again and had a girl.  Ever since, she has been a single mum.

Matric – College – University

In her Matric year, Natasha suffered a traumatic incident.  A friend died in a car accident.  She had asked the friend to accompany her to her Matric farewell so she would not feel left out.  In the end, she did not go, but her friend went ahead.  On the way back from an after-party, the accident occurred.  So, she blamed herself.  Natasha went into a deep depression which resulted in her doing poorly at school. 

 She recovered sufficiently to go on to a college.  There, she completed an advanced secretarial and computing skills course.  Then… another setback… She fell pregnant, so had to leave her studies and go to work.

Natasha first worked at a local clothing store for about 10 years.  Then she got an administrative job at a school. Here, she was inspired to study further.  In six years, she completed a Bachelor of Education degree.  This was done by correspondence through the University of South Africa.  She graduated cum laude last year with 29 distinctions. At a thanksgiving graduation celebration, she shared her testimony.  Then got a call the next day that she had a new job.  

She has now set her sights on becoming an educational psychologist.

Along her journey, she has bought two houses; one in 2010 and the other, last year, and she is engaged to be married soon.

But Natasha not stopped dreaming.  She has now set her sights on becoming an educational psychologist.  This achiever has recognised that there is a great need for this kind of intervention.

Why did she share her story with #ImStaying?  “So, the idea was to inspire girls.  I never stopped dreaming and I still have big dreams.”



Edited By: Val Bruce