Name: Edna Lungu
Date of birth: 23rd February 1994
Place of birth: Lusaka
Mother’s name: Charity M. Lungu
Father’s name: Salim Lungu
Primary School: Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe
Secondary School: Leopards Hill Secondary School
2011 Level: Grade 11
Edna comes from a household with both parents. She is the oldest of the four children. Her younger siblings are Salim who is 14, Trever, 10, Christian, 4, and Irene, an infant. The father was a spray painter at Southern Cross Motors, but he has since been laid off. The family has since moved in with Edna’s grandparents while Mr. Lungu looks for work. Despite these difficulties, the scholarship has helped the parents afford to send their other children to school. Through Edna’s example, her brothers and sisters are working hard to succeed.
Edna’s mother remarked that Edna’s manners and confidence have markedly improved during her two years at Leopards Hill. During the holidays, she helps out around the house, cooking n’shima and relishes for her entire family
Edna’s educational background:
Primary – Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Basic School
Edna was such a dedicated and disciplined student in primary school compared to most of her fellow students. She travelled 45 minutes each day to attend school, and, even so, would usually remain behind after classes to study. It is not surprising therefore that Edna has an unbeatable academic track record at her primary school.
At Leopards Hill Secondary School
Edna got off to a great start in grade 8, earning 7 distinctions in her last examinations and also placing first in the overall academic class standing.
Edna continued to excel during grade 9, beginning to take advantage of the far more rigorous work load at Leopards Hill.
Grade 9 Academic Achievements:
Edna has continued to make her family and KF proud. She finished the year in second position, just behind Bwalya, another KF student (she earned an impressive 3 As).. Though Additional Maths has been a challenge for her, she plans working extra hard to improve her marks in that subject. She continues to be an active presence at her school, motivating others to work hard and to get involved. At the annual prize-giving day at the end of the year, Edna received awards for best student in history and religious education. Edna was recently selected as a prefect at LHS for next year as well as a dorm captain, an enormous honor for students at the school. She is hoping to continue her academic excellence during grade 11.
Edna is a very active girl, taking the opportunity to be involved in as many programs as possible to gain exposure and experience. She is currently involved in an Anti-Aids club, the JETS club, and drama. She also features on the school’s football, netball and basketball teams. Netball is her favorite sport, and she was very proud of scoring 18 goals in a recent match against Lusaka East School. Edna also competes in track-and-field. Edna pointed to the Model United Nations event at LHS as another highlight from the year.
During the August work experience week, Edna worked with her mentor, Kay, at the ministry of finance where she learned about the budget and accounting process as well as how to produce organized excel spreadsheets. Her boss described her as a bright girl, a quick learner.
Off the field, Edna also participates in community service, tutoring neighboring children during her school breaks.
Edna would like to be an accountant because of her love of Mathematics: “I would love to continue with it and also have a job that has to do with maths.”
Edna’s role model:
Edna’s role model is her grandfather because she admires his accomplishments and perseverance. When both his parents passed away when he was in secondary school, he was forced to stop school and begin working in construction, making cement blocks. He worked for six months and then was able to raise enough funds to return a finish school. He then found sponsorship to attend college, attaining a degree in accounts. Her grandfather faced even more tragedy in his adult life—losing four of his children to illness. Nevertheless, he persevered and provided for his wife and five other children.
What others think of Edna:
Edna is a very quiet, but brilliant, young girl. She is very serious about her work and all her teachers say that studies are clearly her first priority. Edna is consistently first or second in her class.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank KF for the help my parents and I are getting. Thank you for everything you have done and are still doing for me. As a member of KF I have learnt a lot of things. It’s not only in my academic learning but also in life. “
C/O Kucetekela Foundation,
P/Bag E891, Manda Hill Centre,
15th August 2010
Greetings to all of you. I am writing this letter to share my experience as a Kucetekela Foundation student and my performance at school. Saying thank you to Kucetekela Foundation for everything it has done in my life and for my family will always be my first priority.
Kucetekela Foundation has brought joy to the lives of many families and individuals in Lusaka. For being one of these families and individuals I will forever remain grateful and thankful to Kucetekela Foundation because my life has greatly and positively changed. Before I became part of this foundation, I had talents and gifts which I was sitting on and had no idea of how to develop them. After joining the K.F. family, I had opportunities that I took advantage of and began developing my talents and using my God given gifts.
This organization has taught me a lot of things. Giving what you have to those lacking, with a pure heart and good intentions is one of the things that I have learned to do. K.F. gives me what I need and in turn, I give others what I can, for example, I give out help in my community in terms of teaching young children, some of them go to school and others do not. Even though I teach children, I cannot call it my community service programme because it is not taken seriously by the parents of the children. I often help in many things in my community. For instance, at church we do a lot of activities to help the sick and the disabled people in our community. When I am not at school, we usually have trips to hospitals and orphanages to visit the people who are there in different states.
Involving myself in all these activities has made me realize what I can do for others in life. As people always say “you can’t change the whole world but can change one’s world”. It is very important in life to help people even if you have no money to give them but offer them anything that they can use to change their lives to something better.
Coming to the part of class performance, I have continued working hard and hope to work harder in future. Being a student who knows what I want to do and where I want to be ten years from now, I always take off the banner for being poor and raise the banner for hard work and being focused. I do not let the fact that I came from a poor family hinder my happiness and my opportunities in life but I also remember where I am coming from.
I must say that I am happy with my performance in class and in sporting activities. I have books from the foundation and good teachers who help me in every subject and aspect of school life.
Through the foundation I am able to attend motivational conferences and talks from highly respected people in society. People who have made it in fife through struggles have talked to me about how circumstances change in life and about how to succeed using your God given talents and gifts.
I would like to let you know that I am the editor for the Kucetekela Foundation Mentors Newsletter and also the dormitory captain at my school. Many people have told me that I have great leadership qualities and can make a good leader. I usually ask people why they say this and the answers I get are that they can see a future leader from the way I carry myself, from the way I speak and from the way I do things with confidence. I feel very proud of myself when I hear this because it makes me feel good about myself as a person from a poor family.
I would like to return to my Kucetekela Foundation ever after I complete my secondary school. By being a mentor I would be paying back to the Foundation although not fully paying back because what K.F. has done for me cannot be described using words and there are no words that can express how much I thank the Foundation for everything single thing it has done for my family and me.
Thank you very much Kucetekela Foundation!
Edna A. Lungu
Sitting in the cafeteria of Ibex Hill Secondary School, I found myself surrounded by ten apprehensive faces. I had already tried to make some light small talk, but the fact remained that I was the skinny white guy with the giant camera in their faces. Trying to get the ball rolling, I looked over at Iwell, who was lounged back in his seat, munching on a muffin.
“So, what do you think of the Kucetekela Foundation, Iwell? Just kind of explain what all they do for you.”
Iwell instantly sat up, raised his head and let out a bright, white grin.
“If I had to tell you what all the Kucetekela Foundation does for me, it would take the whole day if I had to say everything.”
On my three-day tour of KF, led by worker extraordinaire and crashing spot provider Libby Denniston, I saw an organization that is directly and completely transforming lives.
Started four years ago by American Oliver Barry, the Foundation provides private school scholarships (to three separate partner schools) to disadvantaged youth from the Greater Lusaka area. That is, of course, a very simplified definition. KF also provides a mentor program, constant staff support, tutoring, clothing, help with medical bills, work-study program, etc. etc. ETC.
These students have become the children of the Kucetekela Foundation. Just from my time with Libby, I could see that this former Princeton student has become another mother to these students.
Pulling them out of unbelievably dire circumstances, KF has been a saving grace for both the students and their families.
Penius wants to be an engineer. Now interning with Lusaka Toyota, it definitely seems that this intelligent, extremely well spoken kid is on the right track. However, he wouldn’t be at this point if it weren’t for KF.
Penius’ mother works as a maid and is a single-mother of three in Lusaka’s struggling Ng’ombe compound:
“Before the Kucetekela Foundation, I was doubting, and didn’t know where my child was going. There is no way to express how grateful I am. Without them I didn’t know what I’d do. Helping him is like helping the whole family. Nothing has been hard since being in their hands. They have taken me to where I couldn’t have gone on my own.”
School fees are becoming outrageously expensive for lower-income families in Zambia. Many children drop out after the seventh grade, because tuition and educational materials are simply too steep in price. Providing children with that monetary gift not only helps them to further themselves, but is also a huge financial relief for the families, who are often pinching pennies to get by.
Mercy, a Kucetekela student, was left with one blind guardian and six other children, after several members of her family died from AIDS. The scholarship, along with the mentor and staff support, has proven invaluable to her and her family.
It is important to mention that these children aren’t just attending school, they are excelling. In many of the grades, Kucetekela children are the top of the top.
As Florence Nkowane, director of the Kucetekela Foundation stated, “People are curious to see how kids from the slums can compete in boarding schools. How will they perform? Given the opportunities, we thought they were likely to do better, and clearly that is the case.”
Barry started the Foundation after seeing the dire circumstances and crowded classrooms of everyday public schools. Standards were through the floor, teachers were unreliable, and overall quality was just dismal. Some students were clever, but wouldn’t be able to continue.
According to Mrs. Nkowane, “If kids are continually stuck in this situation, Zambia will never develop and will be forced to rely solely on donor aid.”
Financial Officer Simasiku mirrored this statement, saying, “Education is the key to success and the development of our country.”
One of my last days in Lusaka, I saw Edson, who is number one in academics and a dominant athlete at Chalo Trust School, speak to a group of seventh graders at his former school. Completely calm and in control, he spoke about his mother’s death and his KF experience. Seeing a ninth grade student speak to a huge crowd of seventh graders with such ease is evidence of the Kucetekela Foundation’s effect.
However, the effect has been diminished. With the economic crisis, the amount of KF scholars has been greatly reduced, and the Foundation needs YOUR help.
“The Kucetekela Foundation goes deeper than just paying school fees, they gave us hope.” (Penius)
Troy Smith, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is currently an In-the-Field traveler visiting GlobalGiving projects throughout Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. Follow his trip at http://troygivesglobal.tumblr.com/.