Written by Damaris Nzala
A dream is a seed in my mind. I have been granted an opportunity to plant my seed and work towards its germination. Since learning about Our Moon, I aspired to be one of its Young Leaders . And now I am living in reality.
I remember a point in time when I spent hours reading blogs on Our Moon’s website. I read blogs written by the students and I drew inspiration from them. Growth is a blooming flower, and I was motivated by how Our Moon’s Young Leaders grow into independent and critical thinkers. From her first blog to her most recent one, I have witnessed a dramatic growth in Thando’s intellectual expression. I have seen Edwin grow into a great blogger who writes to inspire and educate. Like lamps dispelling the darkness of ignorance, I listened to Janet and Quincy converse with Helen on a podcast. They were able to articulate and confidently unveil solutions.
Through my personal accomplishments and those of the females around me, I have come to a realization: whether male or female, you can achieve anything if you set yourself some goals, apply yourself and work hard. Anyone can attain excellence in any field. I believe excellence is not a gender specific skill; it’s an attitude of mind.
I believe in the creative use of science to solve problems ranging from global warming (I am a climate change activist) to disease outbreaks. Through Our Moon’s Young Leaders Program, I will work towards liberating my mind. This is so that I am fully equipped to research, discover and innovate. This will lead me to solve problems in Zambia such as hunger, with the use of farming technologies, and cure diseases through responsible research.
Every child has the scientist’s sense of wonder and awe. The problem is how to remain one as we grow. I enjoy exploring the intersections of man and nature. Science provides me with a platform to intertwine my passion for the scientific study of man and my interest in environmental protection. Through science, my hungry mind is fed; science generates solutions for everyday life and helps us to answer the great mysteries of the universe.
I visualize an Africa, a Zambia, where the gender equality gap is filled. Zambia, like too many other countries, has far fewer females than males studying and working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related fields. Spending five years at an all-girls school taught me one key thing: there is a need for more girls to take STEM subjects. Through my personal accomplishments and those of the females around me, I have come to a realization: whether male or female, you can achieve anything if you set yourself some goals, apply yourself and work hard. Anyone can attain excellence in any field. I believe excellence is not a gender specific skill; it’s an attitude of mind.
I strongly believe that having more females in STEM is key to unlocking Zambia’s socio-economic potential. I grew up in an environment where I was discouraged from taking STEM subjects. Defying the odds, I selected to take pure sciences in high school. My passion for science increased as I increased my knowledge base. Taking pure sciences gave me an insight into the practical uses of science. I was constantly told that science and mathematics were challenging – but I conquered the challenge. I considered it an opportunity to open my mind for the mind is like a parachute: it doesn’t work until it’s open. Our Moon fosters a positive change in young Zambians. Therefore, becoming an Our Moon Young Leader gives me the platform to grow a positive mindset and build on my social responsibility through volunteering. I want to take this chance to explore my identity as a gap student and lay a strong foundation for my career goals as I take on experiential learning. In the near future, through collaboration, and cooperation, I plan to set up an all-female STEM University in Zambia. It will be the hub for innovation and research. Our Moon provides us with this opportunity to get back to the soil and sew those seeds of development