We are very excited to welcome our next group of students. You will hear more from them over the coming weeks, but for now, I thought I would share with you some of their initial thoughts about Our Moon and things they would like to change in Zambia.
Firstly, meet Catherine from the capital, Lusaka. Catherine loves the trees and the natural environment here in Chibombo. “Trees,” she says, “are the lungs of the earth”. She is a strong believer in taking action and has already planted trees at her home and school. She has also been running a small environmental campaign, Keep Clean and Stay Green. “Under this programme, I discourage people from cutting down trees [for firewood and to make charcoal] and encourage the planting of trees to replace those we have lost”. At Our Moon, we have planted over 200 trees and allowed the forests to flourish, protecting them from being chopped down for firewood by passers by.
Hailing from Kitwe in the Copperbelt, and a protégé of Chitundu, one of our alumni, Tamali’s mantra is “Learning is Living. Learning has helped me grow in every stage of my life. I am optimistic that I will learn to open my mind and get to understand my true identity through Our Moon”. We can see that Tamali lives by her words every day and is embracing her new experiences here at Our Moon.
Continuing on a learning theme, Ceaser from Livingstone – the tourist centre of Zambia as it is near the Victoria Falls – is excited to be at Our Moon. “Everyone has been very kind and welcoming. The most exciting part for me has been learning new things… I have observed a clear contrast with the Zambian and Our Moon learning systems. The Zambian system teaches to pass exams, but not apply what you have learnt. During my time at school, I was taught all the parts of a computer and how a computer operates without actually seeing one!”
“I was very eager to have a change of environment and to do something that is out of my daily home routine. [Our Moon] is a once in a lifetime opportunity and has already started to change my mindset and understandingMapalo
Mathews, also from Kitwe, is interested in ethical leadership. “I feel that leadership ought to be inculcated in individuals from childhood. It is a pity that too few organisations in my country consider ethical leadership – Our Moon Education is one of them! …I believe it will lay a strong foundation in my ambition to become a leader one day and contribute to the fight against corruption across Africa.”
Racheal is from Ndola, also in the Copperbelt. She comes from the same school as Damaris (2021-22) and Thando (2018-19). She is very interested in psychology and understanding people. She exudes a natural warmth and is someone people easily relate to. Keen to develop further her communication skills, she says, “Communication brings a realisation of how I should be able to engage in conversation with those around me. Communication involves patient listening as well as speaking or writing”.
Growing up in a one parent family in Lusaka, Paul knows about the struggles that high achieving children and youth face. As secondary school had to be paid for, he was unable to take up his place at the top school in the country. He is excited that the new government has made secondary schooling free for all. “There will be an equal opportunity for every high achieving student to acquire an education from the best schools. I am profoundly humbled to be part of Our Moon’s programme which will help prepare me and give me opportunities to pursue higher education.
Mapalo is also from Lusaka, though originally lived not so far from Our Moon in Chibombo District. She writes of her experience at Our Moon so far, “I was very eager to have a change of environment and to do something that is out of my daily home routine. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and has already started to change my mindset and understanding – from the physical fitness where I learnt about the many benefits of exercise for the first time, to planting creepers to make the place look beautiful and also to protect the environment, I am excited to be starting on my journey.
Pethias is from Kalulushi, a newer town developed around the local mines. “Being at Our Moon has been an escape from the chronic toxic lifestyle in which I grew up. I love the fact that Our Moon gives back to society, ultimately impacting thousands of lives directly and indirectly. Here I am able to balance my life physically, intellectually as well as spiritually. The environment is so conducive to both study and self-reflection as I can listen to the beautiful tweeting birds and gaze at the ever changing skies.”