Justin has been involved with Our Moon from the get go. He was Our Moon’s first ever scholar and is currently studying at University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. But more than this, Justin is passionate about seeing other students have the same opportunities as himself, and has played a large part in bringing Our Moon to life. In this week’s blog we hear more about him and why he is passionate about seeing Our Moon succeed.
With Our Moon’s guidance Justin took a distance learning A level course while applying to university and successfully gained a place to study at UBC in Canada! During this time he worked closely with Helen, Our Moon’s CEO, to create a name and logo to reflect her vision to help other students like Justin succeed in furthering their education.
The name ‘Our Moon’ is based on the idea that no matter how far apart people are, they all see the same moon. Regardless of beliefs, colour, race, gender, class, our moon is the same moon seen by everyone in the world. It is a symbol of equality and connectedness which reminds us that in spite of physical distance we are all part of a common humanity, and we are all as important as each other. Justin designed Our Moon’s logo around a piece of traditional African art incorporating lots of moon symbolism to reflect these ideas.
Justin also helped to set up the first Our Moon workshops in Zambia, taking responsibility for finding a conference location, for booking the facilities and for tutoring some of the sessions. He will particularly be remembered by the participants for his lively ice-breaker and warm-up sessions!
Justin believes in Our Moon because it gives high-achieving, low-income (HALI) youth an opportunity to continue with their studies when they would not otherwise have one. He also likes the fact that the students at Our Moon’s partner schools will benefit from Our Moon’s involvement, helping them also develop some of the knowledge and skills that should help them in the future to apply for university and get good jobs.
Justin believes passionately that people need to be educated as it gives them more choices. He says: “Each person has their own reasons for studying; there isn’t one single reason, but everyone deserves the opportunity”.
Florence Nkowane, Co-founder and Director of Kucetekela Foundation (KF), is Justin’s inspiration. “She works tirelessly on behalf of vulnerable Zambians to give them the best opportunity for a good education and to develop their skills – she gives them so much personal attention. I recognised that Helen has very similar qualities and so I was keen to introduce them to each other. As a consequence, KF is one of the partners from which Our Moon selects its students”.
Justin is keen to return to Zambia after he graduates from university. He is keeping his career choices open, taking courses in creative writing, poetry and visual arts as well as in his majors. He is teaching himself how to the play the drums, something he considers to be one of the most challenging things he has ever done.
Justin has a website where he has published several books of poetry: www.justinbuchi.me. He is currently working on a volume of poems loosely based on the town and people where he grew up in rural Lusaka. He considers himself to be a young voice of Africa, keen to highlight its many positive virtues as well as some of the difficulties that its people face. Here are a few lines to whet your appetite:
Shankiki the shanti shakers, a ghetto brew,
Born and bred by the ticklish tongue of poverty
Made for those cracking lips and dry throats,
Justin’s story shows why Our Moon is investing in high-acheiving low-income students, to enable and empower them to give back to their communities. If you wish to know more about Our Moon, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call +44 1892 522330/+44 7720 287904, visit our website: www.ourmoon.org.uk or go to our FaceBook page: www.facebook.com/ourmooneducation.