In Nyanja, one of Zambia’s many local languages, “nyali” means light. AEP’s scholarships have represented light during times of darkness for so many young people who otherwise would not have been able to continue their education.
Over 2,600 individual annual scholarships have been awarded since 2007, enabling 450 young women and men to complete high school and 80 to graduate from college. This year, more than ever, AEP’s scholarships represent a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel.
COVID-19 has only exacerbated young Zambians’ access to quality education. Access to school and proficiency levels were already poor and now school drop-out and teenage pregnancy rates are on the rise.
AEP’s approach combines scholarships to public school and after-school programs focused on self-esteem, leadership, and innovation development.
COVID-19 forced us to pivot this work.
AEP’s opportunities open doors for girls and boys to discover their own unique gifts and talents enabling them to take this first step out of poverty.
Read Munambeza’s story to dive deeper into why AEP’s approach creates a lasting impact.
Many of AEP’s young people experience hardships like Munambeza -- she lost her father in 2008 when she was in 7th grade and her mother worked hard to support her, along with three other siblings, by selling dry fish at the local market. Life was difficult for her family and Zambia’s mandatory school fees starting in 8th grade were just too much for her mother to afford. Fortunately, an uncle stepped in to help for a couple of years until he lost his job. In 2011, a friend introduced Munambeza to the African Education Program’s educational resource center and she began attending on a regular basis. Her smile lights up the center every time she walks in. She received her first scholarship in 2012 when she entered the 10th grade.
Munambeza had dreams to attend the University of Zambia. After high school, she was awarded a college scholarship, turning this dream into a reality. “This scholarship really meant a lot to me because I knew there were many young people out there who were in dying need of it, so I was not going to let this opportunity go to waste.”
Munambeza graduated at the end of 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Public Administration. Life after university has not been easy in the wake of COVID-19, but she still has hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. She is currently interning with Global Platform Zambia to gain experience and different skills for her career. She chose this degree because it encompasses a broad field of administration and policy making and one day she hopes to become a policy analyst so that she can contribute positively to the development of her community and the country at large.
“AEP has contributed greatly to the person I am today. Giving back to the communities and institutions that helped us to achieve success is a value we share and a privilege we embrace. One does not need to wait to make so much money to start giving back to the community. For me, giving back to where I grew up from means a lot, these children need it because I was once one of those children. I believe I have to lead by example because leadership does not have to do with position, but with action.” — Munambeza, University of Zambia Graduate
We invite you to learn more about the Nyali Scholarship Fund by visiting this page.