SUSAN MWANZA, Luangwa
LIFE in the village is tough, particularly for a girl who is dreaming of becoming a medical doctor but has no role models to inspire her, whereas walking to and from school every day is not an easy undertaking.
Most rural parts of Zambia have few role models to inspire young people to explore their full potential in life.
Beatrice Kafula, 15, a Grade 9 pupil at Mwavi Primary School in Luangwa district, has, however, refused to be stopped from attaining her goals by the daily challenges of life
“I go to school on an empty stomach. We don’t eat breakfast here. Life is extremely tough, but I am managing by the grace of God. I walk every day to school and it is very far,” Kafula, one of the recipients of the Alex Basopo Kazimiro Njovu Foundation (ABKNF) award, said.
The awards were sponsored by Mr Njovu, a former pupil at Mwavi Primary School.
Kafula received money, two medals and a school bag for her exceptional performance in the 2019 mock examinations. She was the best pupil at school.
Helen Mutale Bwalya, Trust Tembo, Concilia Chisenga, Ethel Manda and Teresa Daka also received some awards for passing their mock examinations.
Kafula lives with her uncle in the Chilimanga farm settlement, while her parents live in Mpika, Muchinga Province.
“My parents are not able to support me at school. This is why I came to live with my uncle here in Luangwa. He is the one sponsoring me,” she said.
Kafula, the second born in a family of six children, is two grades ahead of her twin brother, a Grade 7 pupil.
She says she is determined despite the challenges she faces at home and also in terms of accessing her school in Luangwa, a valley that is prone to perennial floods and droughts.
“It is difficult to study especially at night because we do not have electricity. During the day as a girl I help out with chores at home, so the only time I have to read my books is at night, but again I have the challenge of electricity. The only friends I have are my books and some companions at church. I don’t go out with boys because I know that I can get pregnant and contract diseases,” Kafula said.
She said despite not having role models in her community, she remains determined to complete school and have a better future.
“I am surrounded by all sorts of challenges because of the environment. Some of my age-mants have children, but my prayer daily is that I should have a better future by finishing school and becoming a medical doctor,” Kafula said.
She is confident that God will continue to create a way for her to further her education.
And Lusaka-based journalist Adora Nyirenda, who addressed the pupils during the awards-presentation ceremony at Mwavi Primary School in Luangwa, encouraged the girls to stay away from sexual activities.
“Sex is bad at your age. Stay away from boys. They will just impregnate you or give you diseases and that may be the end of your education. I am a journalist today because I did not rush into activities that could have ruined my life. Make sure you put God first and work hard at school,” Ms Nyirenda said.
Ms Nyirenda, who prayed for the pupils for God to protect them from all vices, also urged the scholars to work hard at school.
“Yes, you are in a village, but you must be inspired by the Vice-President of Zambia, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina, who went to a rural school in Nalolo district in Western Province, but today she is the second-most powerful person in Zambia.
“She is the Vice- President of our country. So be inspired and always look to the future with confidence, knowing that God does not neglect his children. You are simply passing through a phase in life, time will come when you will be eating bread with butter and Hungry Lion (snacks),” Ms Nyirenda said.
Mwavi Primary School headmaster Phillip Nyirenda said the annual awards have inspired class competition among pupils.
“The school is faced with numerous challenges. Currently we need two or three computers. We are appealing to all our former pupils to come to our aid and help us. We thank God for these annual awards. They have brought out the best in our pupils,” Mr Nyirenda said.
SUSAN MWANZA, Luangwa