Dr Tracy Makuvire MD, came to Pestalozzi from Zimbabwe in 2007, dreaming of becoming a doctor. In May 2018, Tracy graduated as a Medical Doctor from Harvard University. This is her story.
Growing up in Zimbabwe, I dreamed that one day I would be a doctor, but I did not dream that I’d graduate from Harvard Medical School.
Pestalozzi changed my life in more ways than one and today I want to stop and say thank you to everyone who makes Pestalozzi possible!
When Pestalozzi came into my life, I was a form five student at Eveline High School in Zimbabwe. It was around April, and we had only just begun the school year. Due to many delays in grading the ZIMSEC exams of 2006, many students had started the Advanced Level classes late. For me personally, the delay included financial difficulties in paying for my high school. My mother, soon to retire from working in a factory, could not afford to pay for my brother and me. Thus, it was with high hopes that I attended the Pestalozzi selection process with many other students from around Zimbabwe.
Needless to say, my family and I were beyond joyous when we received the news that I had been accepted into the Pestalozzi scholarship programme. I had the most wonderful two years at Pestalozzi. I met many people, and gained life friends. I learned to grow academically, socially, and emotionally as a student and a global citizen.
In Zimbabwe, I had witnessed the poor health system and how it affected many families. I was determined to gain an education that would allow me to give back to my community through medicine. My time at Pestalozzi prepared me for the next step in my life – Stanford University. At Stanford, I pursued a major in Human Biology, with an interest in microbiology, women’s health, and global public health. It was here that I began to appreciate and understand how socio-economic status and education are major determinants of health. I became passionate about women’s health, globally and locally, and began to align my extracurricular activities with my passion.
While an undergraduate, I studied abroad in Australia and discovered my love for all things “nature”, from hiking up mountains and through rainforests to exploring the Great Barrier Reef, muddy mangroves and various ecosystems in Australia. In my junior year, I received the Haas Africa Service Fellowship, which allowed me to spend time teaching high school students at Pestalozzi World in Zambia. I also spent time as a Resident Assistant in Crothers Memorial, a tutor Science in Service, and a research assistant in an HIV/AIDS microbiology lab. After graduation, I became a Human Biology Course Associate, and worked with an amazing team to bring the Human Biology core to life for many students. During this time, I was also applying to medical schools, with hopes to continue into academic and community medicine.
I graduated from Stanford in June 2013 with a BA in Human Biology and went on to study at Harvard Medical School in 2014, and graduated in May 2018 as a MD.
Today, as I celebrate this moment, I remember that I stand on the shoulders of giants. I am thankful for my mother who despite all the challenges of raising children in Zimbabwe, always emphasised education and pursuing our dreams; to my family who have been my biggest cheerleaders; to my Stanford and Harvard family and friends who have mentored and supported me through Medical School; and to Pestalozzi.
I am truly grateful for what Pestalozzi taught me, and for the passion that continues in my heart.
In mid-June 2018 I start my three-year Internal Medicine Residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard. I want to continue my involvement in global health, and in the future I envision that my practice will include serving people from low income communities locally and globally.
Pestalozzi International Village gave me the opportunity to finish my high school education in the UK when the situation in Zimbabwe was bleak. To all the little girls with dreams that seem beyond reach, I want to say that you too can be and will be whatever your dream is.