MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
WHILE at St Mary’s Secondary School in Lusaka, Makaya Chilekwa was a regular recipient of the Savenda Awards of Excellence, which award academic excellence from grades eight to twelve.
Now, she has just received a scholarship to go and study in the United States of America (USA).
Her parents, Christine and Charles Chilekwa are now head over heels.
“My daughter always worked hard at school since grade eight when she got her first award, her hard work made it possible for the American embassy to give her a scholarship,” Mrs Chilekwa says. “The Savenda Awards made her to aim high and aspire for greater success.
“My daughter is studying chemical engineering at Cornell University and she has been given 100 percent scholarship, this makes me proud as a parent and I am positive that she will achieve her dreams. I would like to commend Savenda for the great role they have played in shaping the academic future of my daughter.”
Another parent Kennedy Simbotwe agrees with Mrs Chilekwa.
Mr Simbotwe says her daughter had an opportunity to go and study Biomedical at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States because of the awards.
“Savenda has played a huge role in my daughter’s academic future, the institution was paying 90 percent of her school requirements,” he says.
Mr Simbotwe said her daughter was recognised by the American Embassy because of the appreciation of her hard work by Savenda.
“Am happy as a parent because the works Savenda is doing, the awards played a huge role in supplementing my daughter’s school fees during the time she was at secondary school,” he explained.
Pupils and management at Saint Mary’s Secondary School have commended Savenda Management Services Limited for its continued positive contribution to the academic performance at the school.
School careers master Davies Mubanga says the introduction of the Savenda Awards of Excellence has uplifted the profile of the school.
“The Savenda Awards began seven years ago, and since then, the pass rate for our pupils at both grade nine and twelve final exams has been excellent,” Mr Mubanga says. “Our school is among the best in this country in terms of pass rate. We would like to commend Savenda for being our dependable partner and we challenge other entities to come on board and emulate Savenda.”
Rachael Moonga, a grade twelve pupil at the school believes that the awards help promote hard work and competition among the pupils in her class as well as the entire school.
“The awards have helped bring out the best in me, am encouraged to work hard because I know that my work will be appreciated,” she says. “I feel the Savenda Awards must be rolled out to other schools in the country to promote inter schools competition.”
Mirriam Nzuda, in grade ten pupil, says the awards help pupils who are below average in terms of academic performance to work hard.
“I think the awards have brought change of mind-set in pupils with regard to have they look at school work,” she says. “Pupils are no longer scared of failure because they have developed a positive attitude.”
And Miranda Ngala a grade eleven pupil at the school says the awards have helped to boost her level of self-confidence and improve her school performance.
“My performance has greatly improved since the first time I won the award,” Miranda says. “I was new in class the first time I won the award, it was a surprise to me. Since then, I am always motivated to work hard so that I can be awarded again.”
Savenda Management Services says it came up with the awards as a way of giving back to the community.
Director for projects and administration Norman Brown says the awards are also aimed at empowering the girl child.
“The main idea behind the introduction of the Savenda awards of excellence is to give an opportunity to the girl child to aspire to achieve more and compete favourably with the boy child when it comes to academics,” Mr Brown says.
“Our society does not give equal opportunities to the girl child because of cultural beliefs and we want to change that as Savenda.
“Some families still believe that it is not important to educate a girl child because she will get married and become a responsibility of her husband. But we believe that a woman must be empowered and be independent of her husband, she must have an opportunity to aspire for success and achieve her dreams.
“We want to touch the communities in which we are operating from so that we can impact positively on society, we believe promoting girl child education is the only way we can invest back into the community.”
Mr Brown says Savenda is currently sponsoring awards for girls at Kabulonga Girls and St Mary’s Secondary schools.
“We’ve observed that Saint Mary’s has been performing exceptionally well compared to Kabulonga Girls,” he says. “[But] we would love to take the awards to a bigger platform and increase on the number of beneficiary schools. I must however mention that this will require an increase in our cash flow.”