After returning to the UK, I recently caught up with Our Moon’s Helen Leale-Green to hear about her most recent trip to Zambia, where she helped to organise Hillcrest Prom and partook in the school’s debate night. To see the full interview, read on:
What inspired you to set up Our Moon?
I used to work with young disadvantaged people from around the world who were invited to the UK to study in the sixth form. I mainly helped them to apply to university. One of my Zambian students, Justin Mushitu, now my Programmes Manager, urged me to come to Zambia as he felt I could make more impact and touch the lives of more Zambians.
What are Our Moon’s next steps?
We would like to expand not only the numbers of scholars that we take on, but also the number of young people whose lives we impact and inspire more of them to go to university.
Regarding your recent trip to Zambia, what would you say was the best moment?
I think my best moment was in the Debate night. We had invited students and two teachers from the International School of Geneva to attend the debate. Justin rehearsed the students so well, got them to dress up in chitenge, brightly coloured Zambian cloth, and painted their faces. The students delivered their speeches passionately and professionally. The audience was silent while listening and in rapturous applause afterwards. What I really loved was that I could see the students grow from the experience in terms of confidence but also intellectual curiosity – not something that is often encouraged in Zambian schools.
What has been your most memorable moment with Our Moon thus far?
I think it would be last year when we first interviewed two of Our Moon’s future scholars who were both from Kitwe in the Copperbelt. I was so impressed with them, their stories, their inspiration and their motivation and determination to succeed. It was not a difficult decision to offer them a scholarship.
What would be your dream fundraising event?
I am looking forward to next year’s challenge – we plan a four day walk through Southern Province down to Hillcrest School via the Victoria Falls. I hope it will not only be an interesting experience, but will also be a great way to raise funds for our next scholars.
What advice would you give to Our Moon scholars?
Always be open-minded to new experiences and different people, and seize opportunities that come your way. Don’t just focus on your books, but get involved with society in multiple ways so that you can really make a difference to others’ lives.
Where do you hope Our Moon will be in 10 years?
I hope we will have a much larger group of young people that we are helping into university through our multiple programmes. It would be really cool to have our own centre where our students can participate in many learning opportunities. I also hope that we will have many more African universities for our young people to attend.