I’d like to introduce you to Miss Royna Mwewa. She is a grade ten pupil at School of Hope, and I have had the pleasure of working with her during my summer visits in Zambia. Royna lives with her mother and father along with five siblings in Liteta, a small town a few miles down the road. She has attended School of Hope since second grade.
As the oldest girl living at home, Royna is responsible for most of the cooking and washing for her family. She is also in charge of fetching water from the nearest well which is about a 10-minute walk. Her mother works in the dining hall at School of Hope and her father makes charcoal to sell. For fun, Miss Royna enjoys singing and reading novels including fairy tales, bible stories, and adventures.
Royna believes her best subject in school is English, but finds math and physics to be challenging. Her favorite teacher has often encouraged her by saying things like, “Education is the key to prosperity”. During our interview, Miss Mwewa explained to me that some kids say grade ten is boring, but she disagrees. And when I asked her to tell me about a time she felt successful in school, Royna described her experience with the high stakes national grade nine exam. She said she saw herself passing the test knew she was doing well while taking it. Turns out—she did do well and was successful in moving on to grade ten.
In two years, Miss Royna Mwewa hopes to attend a university and would like to become a journalist or an English Literature teacher. One major goal she set for herself is to take school and studying seriously. As we wrapped up our time together, she stated “I want to humble myself. There are lot of girls having boyfriends at the wrong time. I am picking books to be my friends. In my family, there are no girls who have finished school, so I want to make a difference and go to college”.