A regular on our Get involved: Zambia Volunteer trip tells the incredible story of Priscilla from Kasalu Village in Zambia and what a difference our visits can make …
“All too often, in too many countries, girls are expected to give up education at an early age, to help with the family and in the fields. They are also expected to get married early and produce children. So it was unusual to hear of Priscilla Nyendwa in the village of Kasalu in Zambia. She was already 16 and desperate to stay at school and go on to university, to study law.
She needed a sponsor to pay her school fees and some other expenses. Without that money she could not continue her education and have a chance of fulfilling her ambition. That’s where I came in.
Priscilla walks nine kilometres each way, each day to get to school, even in the rainy season when the small stream she has to cross becomes a torrent. She leaves home in the dark and gets back in the dark. She then has to help her mother prepare the evening meal for her siblings. Her time for private study is naturally severely restricted.
But she still manages to study and play a full role in village life. She plays netball – indeed, she is very keen on sport and will have a go at anything, including, recently, touch rugby. She helps organise sport at the village school, encouraging the youngsters to take part. She is a member of the music and drama group and goes with them to other villages to put over the dangers of HIV/Aids in a memorable way. She helps with the distribution and inspection of malaria nets.
She is, in a nutshell, a truly remarkable and delightful young lady.
It was my privilege to stay with her family last year. As is normal, they live in mud huts with thatched roofs, very little in the way of furniture, no electricity, no running water, a long drop toilet and a diet of low nutritional value. In the rainy season in early 2011, some of their huts were washed away. We do not know how lucky we are, here in Western Europe. Priscilla’s family has so little in material terms, and then the rains took away some of what they had.
She has just taken her school leaving exams and is taking steps to apply for various courses in Lusaka, ready for when she gets her results in February / March. If she makes it to university, she will be the first person from her village to go on to tertiary education.
What a role model for other young people!”
By Exodus client Judy Howlett