And Now…a Few Words from Isaac Phiri

I met Isaac on my first trip to Zambia with A to Z Literacy Movement, in 2010.  At that point he was a beginning student at the age of 13, just learning to read as a pupil of Shine Zambia Reading Academy.  Isaac had already lost both parents at a young age, and on all fronts, life was very difficult and many challenges had come his way.  Things were definitely not stacking up for success.

But, Isaac was determined to do well in school and work hard.  He rapidly became literate, and continued to learn and grow through his teen years.  His extended family supported him in his efforts to become more educated. 

Fast forward to 2021.  Our family has helped sponsor Isaac’s college education in Lusaka, Zambia, and he is in his final year of the Environmental Health program at Evelyn Hone College.  We couldn’t be prouder of him because he’s not only done well in his classes, but he is taking steps to learn and grow outside of his college setting.  He’s becoming a young leader and mentor to others.

Here’s a message I recently received from Isaac:

“I attended the Africa Must Think conference held in the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.  It was really amazing, learning from people who have made it in life.  It was full of inspiration and there was so much to learn.

A certain farmer donated 20 gold tickets at our college, and I happened to be one of the people who got tickets.  The program was focusing much on transforming our thinking as Africans, where we learnt about personal branding, investments, and being found with the right team /friends.

We learnt how we as Africans are contributing to the poverty of our continent.  We learnt how we as young people can contribute positively to the development of our economy and how we can help others be better people.

We learnt how to use opportunities and how to add value to our lives, the importance of education, and why we should continue learning and read more books.

About 10,000 young people attended.  Very important, I got a notebook for note taking.  I am looking forward to more of such educational events.”

Much of Isaac’s success can be attributed to his hard work, determination, and motivation to learn.  He’s a bright shining star in a place where it’s not always easy to be one.  Young men and women like Isaac are needed to help lift Zambia up and move forward.  With his leadership and mentoring younger pupils and peers, I have no doubt that he will inspire young Zambians to step up for their country.

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