Annual Fund Matters
Advancing Beyond the Ordinary
When Chiedza Mufunde ’12 took her seat between Congresswoman Nita Lowey ’59 and feminist activist Gloria Steinem for a panel discussion at the U.S. State Department’s launch of the Women in Public Service Project in December, she simultaneously felt disbelief and incredible excitement.
“I knew that Mount Holyoke had brought me at there,” said Mufunde, who served as a member of Zimbabwe’s Children’s Parliament during her senior year in high school. “As I commented on issues that I am passionate about, I could glimpse my future.”
As a teen, however, Mufunde doubted that she would even attend college. Given the country’s “precarious and quite frightening” political climate and economic situation, her family didn’t discuss the possibility of pursuing higher education. “Still, I devoted myself to my studies,” she said.
The turning point came when Mufunde was selected for the United States Achievers Program (USAP), which provides access to higher education for accomplished low-income youth. And when her USAP advisor introduced her to Mount Holyoke, she knew it was where she belonged.
“The alumnae were so inspiring to me: Kavita Ramdas ’85, Memory Bandera ’04—and all the other graduates who are empowering women, families, and communities,” she said. “I felt I belonged at Mount Holyoke and applied Early Decision.”
An Annual Fund Scholarship recipient, Mufunde has “boundless gratitude” for the generations of alumnae who have literally opened the door for her. “Creating opportunity for others is a value I cherish. That ethos was one of Mount Holyoke’s greatest attractions.”
In turn, Mufunde—a psychology major—intends to spend her life opening doors for African women. She is considering graduate programs in social work as further preparation for creating opportunities and bringing about social change in Zimbabwe.
“Right now, my greatest ambition is to be a role model to the girls in my hometown, especially those is my neighborhood who had their educational dreams interrupted in various ways,” said Mufunde. “I hope to inspire them and encourage them to dream beyond their circumstances. I want them to realize that they can advance beyond the ordinary.”
Chiedza Mufunde '12 at the Women In Public Service Project
Women in Public Service Project