After receiving her high school diploma, Pendeza, smiles for the camera.

After receiving her high school diploma, Pendeza, smiles for the camera.

PAIR Graduate: Pendeza

After living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, where she was born, Pendeza Byaale came to the United States in 2010 at the age of ten.  Upon arrival, she could not speak any English and had difficulty adjusting to the American culture, making it especially difficult for her to do well in her classes or interact with others while in school. Moreover, learning a language was a struggle because she was unable to read or write in Swahili, her native language, though she managed to speak it fluently. Despite these challenges, she worked hard to improve her English skills even to the point of being able to translate from English to Swahili. 

Pendeza has participated in PAIR programs since middle school. According to Pendeza, PAIR has become a significant influence in her life, saying,

“Without PAIR, my dreams of going to college would never exist.  I continuously received kind support from mentors and staff at PAIR on how to build my future.” 

Pendeza just graduated from Wisdom High School. This summer, she is working as an intern at PAIR through Hire Houston Youth. She will start attending Houston Community College this fall with scholarships from Caring Friends.  

With regards to her future plans, Pendeza says,

“My goal is to become a doctor.  For me to do that, I would like to attend four years of college, followed by medical school.  I want to travel to different places to help sick people.  I would like to help sick people not only in the Houston-area community, but also those in Africa."


PAIR Program Featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul's Hidden Heroes

This moving video demonstrates the challenges young refugees face as they adjust to school and life in the U.S. and the powerful difference a mentor can make.