Meeting the President during Gap Year Work Experience by Mutinta

By Mutinta Mubita, KF Class of 2017

The year came to an end and I had just completed secondary school. The question of every school-leaver rang! “What next?”

With the help of KF, I was offered an internship at BookWorld and was later given a job as a cashier. This was a massive change, because with each passing day, I became a new person. The different types of people I worked with pushed me into changing my thinking and how I view things. From them, I learnt that you can’t make people think like you, but you can put everyone’s thoughts together and reach your goals as a team.

Martin, a KF graduate of 2017, with his team at BookWorld.

Meeting different customers with different personalities meant I always had to change my approach towards each and every person that walked into the shop. During this time, I met people like Pompi (the gospel artist), Former Bank of Zambia Governor, Mr. Fundanga, Honorable Peter N. Mangande, and the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

Meeting the President was very exciting, and I couldn’t believe that I was seeing him in front of me. One thing I learnt from him was the culture of reading. He said, “The problem we have in Zambia is that people don’t read.” He bought all the Zambian writers’ books. This is what he always does when he passes by.

Mutinta takes a selfie with President Edgar Chagwa Lungu

After a long one year and two months of working, it is now time to go back to school and pursue my career. Being accepted into National Resources Development College (NRDC) to study Agricultural Engineering is one of the biggest achievements for any person interested in agriculture.

People ask me questions like, “Why agriculture?” My answer is simple: “Agriculture is the future.” Sometimes we don’t need to give long answers for us to be heard. All of this was made possible by KF. Thank you.

 

Alum Spotlight: Gaella Kabeya

Gaella Kabeya grew up in Lusaka, Zambia and started school at the age of five.  She was a high-achieving student from the beginning of her school.  She won a Kucetekela Foundation scholarship and was the best student in the selection exams.   While at Leopards Hill Secondary School, she was a powerful, outspoken student who motivated her peers to work hard as she was the top student in her class for which she won many academic and co-curricular activities awards.   She was a leader of many school clubs such as debate, sports, science club and consequently was selected as Entertainment Prefect.   She also participated in international programs such as The Global Service Summit, Model United Nations and Teen Vision Trust Leadership Conferences.   Here are her thoughts:

My name is Gaella. I am a proud alumni of Kucetekela Foundation, Leopards Hill Secondary School in Lusaka, The African Leadership Academy and The University of Rochester, where I graduated (class of 2018) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Over the years, my interests and passions have changed. However, at the moment, I’m interested in improving the customer experience for consumers in Lusaka through experiential marketing. Some of the challenges I run into every day in Lusaka with regards to consumer products and services are bad customer service and a lack of information about products and services. It is just plain hard to access information about any products and services before buying. I am still figuring out all the pieces that I need to effectively solve these problems but I’m well on my way there.

Gaella performing in a theatre production at Rochester.

I moved back to Zambia right after graduation because I wanted to be closer to my family and I’ve always had this deep rooted conviction that Zambia is where I will make it. I am just starting my journey to the big leagues, I hope I make it there sooner rather than later. Right now, is a time of mixed emotions for me, the most prominent are confusion and excitement; confusion because I’m still trying to figure out what is next for me moving forward and excitement because I have so much to choose from and learn every day. For now, I spend my days job hunting, going to the gym, reading, learning how to farm tomatoes and planning my future.

I believe it’s a wonderful time to alive because of the number of new opportunities that I see around me everyday. I feel very lucky to be a part of KF, to have been given many great opportunities to education and life at large. I am happy to be back n Zambia and I look forward to making meaningful social impact.

Gaella volunteering on a farm.

On Two Wheels Around Town by Martin Thulani Milanzi, Jr.

The transition from being a dependent person to one who has to entirely meet his own needs is tricky. This is so because as an adult or high school graduate, there are some needs that probably nobody else can provide for you apart from yourself. One such need is transportation to enable you to carry out your duties.

I am personally one of the luckiest persons to have been offered a job directly after high school, but the credit is not mine to take home. This is so because KF helped me get an internship with BookWorld Zambia. I was later given a contract as a full time employee. Since signing a contract, a lot has changed in my life in terms of different things, from how I spend or handle finances to communication skills on a personal level.

Martin drafts tertiary application essays at the KF office.

As an employee and Gap Year student, I have had to find a balance between work, university applications, and studies. That seemed difficult at first because work was tiring and extremely demanding, but I had to get my game back on. The travel to and from work was not just stressing but costly. At some point, I began to think I was working for transport.

To curb the problem of transport costs, I thought of buying a bike, as I knew I would spend so much on a bike, but once and for all. I didn’t just curb costs of travel, I also created a way for me to exercise and travel around town without delay.

I have used my bike to run around the city within time, as I time my pace and start off times. For example, when my mentor wanted to meet me, I used my bike to get to Kabulonga and still managed to attend my soccer practice at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC), on the opposite side of town.

Riding around Lusaka is somewhat a funny thing but worth trying. You have no traffic on a bike and no daily costs of forty kwacha for a one-direction trip. I have used my bike to even get to Pestalozzi, my former secondary school, twice for a tournament the school invited me for. The only sad thing is that I didn’t take part in it, because I was known by one of the officials of the tournament, as he faced me at one point.

If you want to do something big in life one day, start simple. Having a bike has enabled me to use that extra money for transport on some of my own long-term projects. At times, you may just come across some guy and you start cycling each other, which makes me even ten to twenty minutes earlier for work or my destination. I am careful, though, when I ride. I always wear a helmet to protect myself from head injuries.

The only problem I had at first was how people view owning a bicycle, but I am a kind of person who works to get to my goals, so I ignore people’s thoughts. The night rides are fun too; they make me happy.

Internship with Bookworld Zambia by Christian Chavula

Bookworld is a store that specializes in selling books and stationary to the general public. It is one of Zambia’s prestigious stores. Last year right after my final school exams, I applied for internship at Bookworld through Kucetekela Foundation.

A week after submitting the application, a few friends and I were called for interviews. This was my first interview ever. I practically had no idea how to interview well. I never knew I had to research about the company itself. It was more of a challenge based on the fact that I could not answer a few of the questions because I thought it would be that easy. To my surprise, a day later I was called to start work on Monday. I was really excited and at the same time had mixed feelings.

I was first taught how to relate to customers in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Second, I was taught more about the products being sold. It is important to have product knowledge. As an intern, my tasks were mainly to issue out books from the store room, conduct customer service, verifying received stock and filing of documents. For the first month I had someone help me out with everything in case I had questions or experienced difficulties. The start was rough based on the fact that I had to ask almost about everything. I kept on improving day by day.

The Bookworld experience has taught me how to turn suspects into prospective buyers. Usually we don’t know how to convince other people why a certain commodities suits them. This does not only apply in business but also in our day to day lives. We reach points when we have to convince other people on what we believe. This is the key factor to success that I have learnt.

Lastly, Bookworld has helped me understand how important it is to be hard working. My full potential was put to test. I had to work hard in order to finance my personal expense such as transport and lunch expenses. This helped me budget efficiently in order to meet these expenses. I believe Bookworld has inserted an identity of entrepreneurship in me.

Becoming a Gap Year Student by Nathan Mayembe

When I sit down and reminisce from the time I started my junior secondary school all the way to my senior secondary school, a lot has changed about me. One most surprising thing that I have noticed about myself is that my academic performance has improved greatly. In my junior secondary school, my performance was not up to standard. All my friends used to get all the credit. However, with hard work, my senior secondary school was a different story. I was surprised only to find out that I was counted as one of the students who will be part of getting six points at the end of my final exams.

Nathan Mayembe and his family at Pestalozzi Graduation

My social life has also changed. Through community service, work experience and my friends, I have come to realize that I am now more caring about other people because way back, I was very anti-social.

Being part of Kucetekela Foundation (KF) is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. It has been a life changing opportunity. The organization has given me so many opportunities that I would not have even known about if I had not been part of it.

When I was still in school, I wanted to be done with it. Now that I am done with school, I suddenly have unexpected feelings come up. I have a mixture of feelings. At one point it feels good and at another it feels bad. Becoming a gap year student is amazing. However, I do not know what to expect from it. At times, I even wonder what being a gap year student really means.

My main goal next year is to prepare adequately for my SAT exams, so that I can get a good score. Because with that, it will be much easier to apply to any university abroad, especially the United States.

My brotherly advice to my colleagues who are still in secondary school is that you should just be the way that you are. Do not try to be someone you are not. Discover yourself. Do what you do best and of course study hard. To the Grade 8s, always feel at home. You are welcome to this wonderful family and know that we expect a lot from you.

Thank you.

Welcome to the Kucetekela Foundation Scholar Blog!

Hello readers, and welcome to the new and improved Kucetekela Foundation (KF) student blog!

KF Students and staff at the August 2016 Reunion

A brief background on KF:

Founded in 2006, Kucetekela Foundation was created in order to develop and mould the next generation of leaders in Zambia. Currently, KF sponsors 39 students in secondary school, seven Gap Year students and continues to support 38 alumni. In addition to excelling in school, the scholars participate in community service, work experience, leadership training and other kinds of capacity building activities.

The purpose of this blog:

The scholars and graduates of Kucetekela Foundation wanted to revitalize the student stories blog to connect you all to the work that they’re already doing to make themselves, their communities, and Zambia at large, better. Through it, we hope that you can get a better sense of the lives and works of each of our writers.

KF’s 2017 Graduates at the graduation for Pestalozzi Education Centre

What you’ll find here:

The scholars and graduates will be telling stories about the academic, personal and professional work that they’re doing. We’ll also attach photos and videos that we hope you enjoy. We can post statistics and successes to no end, but what we’re excited to showcase are the narratives and reflections of KF scholars in their own words.  We’ll also share with you student spotlights, so you can get to know each of the students a little better.

If you have content suggestions or questions, we’d also love to hear them! We hope that this blog becomes collaborative and inspires people around the world, so let us know what you’re thinking about in the comment section below, and don’t forget to like and share our posts!