CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
SELIA Jere, 23, is one of the Zambian youths who have taken up the mantle of leadership at a young age by co-founding a non-governmental organisation called She Inspires Zambia.
She has chosen to impact society by supplementing Government’s efforts in attaining gender equality and promoting quality education for all.
Selia currently serves as secretary general for She Inspires Zambia, whose aim is to help Zambia attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) four and five.
SDGs four and five focus on attaining quality education and promoting life-long learning for all, as well as gender equality and women empowerment.
“She Inspires Zambia aims at building a generation of women with high self-esteem, self-awareness, self-assurance and resilience.
“It also, among other activities, provides sexual and reproductive health education to help reduce teenage pregnancies in rural areas,” says Selia.
Last year, Selia had a team of 50 adolescents under She Inspires Zambia whom she mentored with a goal of helping them grow into confident and goal-oriented women.
But what could have prompted a young woman like her to get into charity work.
Selia says, “My desire to see smiles on people’s faces is what impelled me to get into charity work.”
Apart from charity work, she is also a model and a third year student at the University of Zambia (UNZA) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in civic education.
Selia, however, says it is not easy balancing charity work, school and modelling.
“Charity work is time-consuming because it requires planning and holding of various events, but I cannot give up on it as I want to live my life having an impact on society,” she says.
Selia says charity work is something that gives her fulfilment but that she also ensures that she performs well in school.
“Just like I needed an extra arm in my life and someone extended it to me and gave me a chance to be among the known names in Zambia, I would also like to see myself do that for others even if it means just one person,” she says.
Selia believes that the country needs people who are bold enough to take challenging steps so that they can be pillars for others.
“The truth is that there is no action you can take which is not a risk. I ensure I stay updated with my school timetable at all times and also attend as many classes as possible,” she says.
In her charity work, Selia has also volunteered under other non-governmental organisations as a peer educator on projects such as the Dream Zambia HIV/AIDS prevention programme.
And about her modelling career, Selia joined it in 2013 after completing her secondary education.
“I started with Glamour Promotions Modelling Agency and my first stage appearance was at the Elite fashion show in November 2014 while my final entry into the industry was in January 2016 at the Vitenge Ni Vatu fashion week,” she says.
Selia’s entry into the modelling industry was followed by a series of fashion shows.
She took part in her first pageant in July 2016 which was Miss Diamond Casino and won the miss personality title.
“I went on to do Miss Peace Zambia where I made it to the top five and then went for Miss UNZA in August 2016 where I was crowned queen before winning other titles last year,” explains Selia.
She then went for the Miss Heritage Zambia pageant and emerged second runner-up.
“Finally, through the Miss UNZA title, I was given an opportunity to represent Zambia at the World Miss University of which I hold the title until the next representative is chosen,” Selia says.
She describes her modelling journey as not only amazing but also educative.
Selia is grateful to all the people who have helped her get to where she is in her modelling career, education and charity work.
Family-wise, Selia is an orphan, third born and only girl in a family of four.
She was raised by her cousin whom she has grown to know as the mother because she has been her only guardian from childhood.
Selia desires to grow her leadership skills this year to help move She Inspires Zambia forward.
“The organisation has 10 more volunteers and has not employed anyone so far. It’s new and we do not have any form of funding yet. So we wish to grow this year so that we can help both the volunteers and others with a few things financially,” he says.
Selia’s prayer is to reach out to more people this year in line with the vision of She Inspires Zambia.
Her education remains her top-most priority though she also hopes to take part in some modelling pageants.
“I hope to take part in Miss Zambia or Miss Universe Zambia as well as represent Zambia at international pageants at which my dream is to be among the top four,” Selia says.
The quotes which have helped her remain focused and continue pursuing her dreams include ‘It is ordinary people who do extraordinary things’ as well as ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.
Selia’s advice to young people is for them to be the best version of themselves knowing that they are unique and no one will ever be them.
CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka