There is need to invest in children

MUMBA Mwansa.

“THE greatest development is achieved during the first years of life, and therefore it is then that the greatest care should be taken.
If this is done, then the child does not become a burden; he or she will reveal himself or herself as the greatest marvel of nature,” says Maria Montessori.
Indeed, Montessori is right. If societies or families are to achieve the greatest development that will trickle down to a nation as a whole, there is need to wholly invest in a child’s life.
Having travelled to some rural parts of Zambia and witnessed the kind of lifestyle people lead, especially that of the children, it is a sorry sight that has time and again left so many thoughts in my mind.
How can I help to change the lives of those in rural areas in a bid to improve national development? How can we engage children to effectively contribute to national development?
Most of us who are based in the urban areas and can afford to meet all the basic needs should spearhead child empowerment, just like Calvin Coolidge says: “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
I guess some people could be wondering how exactly we can help out when the funds we have at our disposal are limited, too. Well, giving and helping out neighbours should not only be done when one becomes a billionaire. We can improve our Zambia with the little resources that we have at our disposal.
Imagine if you packed all those children’s clothes, shoes and toys that have been piling in your homes and accumulating dust due to not being useful anymore, and you decide to make a donation to the needy.
Or if every individual making an earning could sacrifice to spare K50 from their monthly income and utilise it to buy books, pens, pencils and other smaller necessities that are key to one’s educational journey, would we not have a better society?
There is no individual or country that will come to teach us how to develop our country if we do not strive to do so on our own. As a stepping stone, which I know a few individuals are already doing, let’s consider helping the needy near and far away from us so that they, too, could contribute to national development.
Let us all become selfless and work together to have a better Zambia.
Yes, Government, some non-governmental organisations, the corporate world, churches and individuals, among others, have dedicated themselves to helping improve our country by providing the basic needs of children and investing in their education – this is indeed extremely commendable.
However, the major stakeholder in seeing a better Zambia lies in each and every individual calling themselves Zambians. Let’s all unite and work together to invest in children’s welfare if we are to have a better society in the nearest future.
Like the Bembas say: “Imiti ikula e mpanga” – the young have a great potential to improve our country if only they are equipped with all the necessary skills and tools at a tender age, regardless of their social status or family background.
The author is a Zambia Daily Mail sub editor.

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