MUNIDE ZULU, Lusaka
HER humble beginning 12 years ago is inspiring after she defied all odds by turning her two roomed house she was living in into a school during the day.
Very few people could be courageous enough to sacrifice the comfort of their home into a class during the day and a place to find rest at night like Josephine Daka Kangwa, 40, of Mazabuka District.
â€œI and my husband would remove our luggage from the house and put it under a tree to create learning space for pupils during the day and move the luggage back at night. This became a daily trend in our lives for two years,â€ Kangwa recalls.
She was determined, focused and had a vision of becoming proprietor of schools despite her humble beginning.
She credits her husband, Felix, for making her childhood dream become a reality after he invested his retirement package towards the school project, which has seen them own three school campuses.
Today, Kangwa and her husband boast of being proud owners of the renowned Kaleya Boarding School in Mazabuka also known as Exceed. Exceed Secondary is the main campus and a, primary school is located in Makeni villa, Lusaka.
â€œWe started a school with only K2,000 as a couple. I bought a computer that made my work easy in lesson preparations, as I was able to work over-night,â€ she said.
The couple did not employ any teachers when they started the school, as they were both trained teachers.
â€œWe were committed and transparent to each other, which is the reason why we have reached this far,â€ she said.
The school also boasts of moving with the rest of the world in the provision of technology due to the modern computer lab it has.
Kangwa expressed confidence of seeing good results from Grade Nine pupils at the school who wrote their first ICT examinations this year.
Her collaboration with her husband has seen them succeed and progress rapidly. She advised couples doing business together to be committed and transparent to each other, as not doing so would make a business unsuccessful.
Kangwa who gets her inspiration from Indians, wonders why Zambians fail to succeed like them (Indians) who become wealthy within a short period of time through the sale of ice blocks, glass and mangoes in the country.
â€œIf Indians can make it through the small business like mangoes and grass, why not us?Â We can also create employment and become wealthy as long as we are disciplined, Kangwa observed,â€ he said.
The success of Indians based on small businesses gave her confidence and courage to live her dream even the time she was still in college.
The support from the Mazabuka council and Chief Mwanachingwala who offered land for construction of the main campus and boarding school also made a plus to her achievements.
The school, however, does not only boost of its growth but also on its excellent education standards. The schoolâ€™s first grade 12 performance was exemplary as the highest got 14 points with a pass rate of 78 per cent in, 2014.
The school also inculcate spiritual or biblical morals in pupils with the help of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) whom it approached to help in that area.
â€œDespite being a private school, we wanted the school to run as a missionary school and the school is now run by principles from SDA churchâ€ she said.
Kangwa said the school has 350 pupils at primary, 170 pupils at boarding and 35 teachers, general workers inclusive. The school is also using local language as a medium of instruction and children in grade one are able to read and write.
She also has a passion for orphans and vulnerable children which has seen her providing free education to 35 orphaned children at her school.
She also intends to introduce literacy leaning to vulnerable children in Zambia compound situated near her school vicinity in 2016 and in future, establish a home for the orphans and vulnerable children with the help of donors.
â€œHelping the poor in society is inborn. I feel proud to see people I have helped and supported people whom she mentioned as Artwell Mulima, who started working for me as a toilet cleaner but he is now a proud teacher,â€ Kangwa born in 1975 at Chipata general hospital said.
She hails from Kalunga village, under chief Saili, in Chipata District. Kangwa did her primary school at Omelo Mumba primary school in Katete and St Monicaâ€™s Secondary school where she completed her secondary education.
She did her tertiary education at Chipata teacherâ€™s training (TTC). Upon completion of her tertiary education, she got married in 1997 to Felix Kangwa who is also a teacher by profession.
Kangwa and her husband are making headways in expanding the School to other parts of the country. Land has been offered in Kabwe and Livingston and the sky is the limit to reach other parts of the country. The School is expected to open primary boarding school next year in 2016.
Just like any other business, the school runs without challenges such as late payments of school fees by parents.
Due to an indelible mark she has made in the education sector, she is also thinking of venturing into farming, banana plantation in particular in Kabwe.
Despite her busy schedule, she finds time to be with her family and doing Godâ€™s work at her church.
Josephine Daka: Rising business woman
MUNIDE ZULU, Lusaka