Meet the Bakashana Graduates. Want to learn more about what it means to be a sponsor? Visit our Sponsor Expectations page.
Miga is a humble and bright girl with big dreams. She dreams of travelling abroad, and even pursuing her degree in a foreign land. Since childhood, when she lost her father, she has dreamed of achieving her Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy. Miga lost her Mom in 2014 and has been a part of our Bakashana family ever since.
Thank you to Ezra’s Full Sponsor, Linda Short!
Ezra is an orphan whose parents died in 2013. Since then, she has moved around the Province to stay with any relative who could temporarily accommodate the challenge of another child. Last year, she was studying at a Mission school where the Mission’s Sisters and Brothers were assisting her. She has always seen school as an opportunity to change her life’s trajectory and pursue a better future. After passing all subjects on her grade 9 exam, she came to live with an Uncle who lives about 20 miles from Kasama. Her Uncle has 8 children of his own and stays with his aging parents as well as one of his grandchildren. Ezra is now enjoying boarding at Bakashana Boarding House and looks forward to continuing to work hard in school.
Thank you to Edna’s Full Sponsors, Kim and Jason McPhee and Family!
“At my primary school we are using Bemba. Now at Kasama Girls we don’t use Bemba we speak English. I am confused speaking English but I know that if I try hard to understand it will be better for me.”
Edna is in grade 8 and recently graduated from a small, rural school called Katito near Mbala in the very North of Zambia. Before becoming a full-time boarding student in Kasama, Edna lived with her parents who are subsistence farmers. She is a Mambwe by tribe, yet like many Zambians she is a skilled linguist and speaks three languages, including English. She passed with exceptional marks and is excited to begin testing her English comprehension and fluency at Kasama Girls School. Edna was recommended to Bakashana by a hard-working and dedicated Peace Corps Volunteer named Joon, who teaches English at Edna’s school, and had the pleasure of working closely with Edna in his classes. Joon assured us that Edna’s motivation and dedication will help her succeed in school, and that without the help of Bakashana she would not have had the chance to continue her education.
Thank you to Ruth’s Full Sponsors, Shirley Dorsey and Barbara Chambers!
Ruth, grade 9, is a quiet young woman who enjoys science and math classes. She lives with her mother and two siblings in a single room, in a compound which was previously a school classroom block. During the farming season, Ruth stays alone with her two younger siblings, supporting and caring for them, while her mother works to provide for the family by farming in a village more than 100KM away. This is her first year at Laura Girls School, and she has been inspired by her teachers to become a Sister. Her father left the family when she was 5. We selected Ruth because of the maturity and hard work she has shown, not only in succeeding in school, but doing so while supporting her two younger siblings on her own, at only 15 years of age.
Thank you to Hilda’s Full Sponsor, Linda Short
“When I was writing my grade 7 exam I didn’t think that I could pass, my Mother was very sick and my sister was sick also. I would sit in class but my brain would stop working good. I didn’t think that I could pass because my brain is not good. Sometimes I just cry and cry because my heart is not good either. I would cry in class. The time when I was happy was when I played with my friends. I just put energy into school and I went to church to pray because God is Good. My mother is a good mother because we eat food everyday, and we grow well because of it. I am so happy to be in grade 8, God bless the people who help me because it is God who gives people a big heart.”
After Hilda’s father left the family more than ten years ago, she continued studying and going to school while increasing her responsibilities at home. Hilda’s mother is often sick, and works tirelessly every day to sell fritters and other cooked snacks in the market near their home. Life for this family is especially challenging because the desertion by Hilda’s father left 5 children without a solid income, and the farming land in the village in which they live has been turned into bars and houses. Despite these challenges, Hilda is proud to begin secondary school, and grateful to Bakashana and those who support us for the opportunity she has been given to eat three meals a day and dedicate her life fully to her studies. Hilda’s mother is also grateful, and continues to work every day to assist her other 4 children, 3 of whom are still in school.
Thank you to Memory’s Full Sponsor, Catherine Bruns!
“My Father died in 2012 and that’s when I went to live with my grandma because my mother couldn’t support us. My grandmother took me around to every school seeing if they could help us but they all refused. Now Bakashana is helping me when no one else would.”
Memory lives with her Grandmother in a housing compound a great distance from school. She is the last born of four children – three girls and one boy. Her elder brother is in grade 9 and the school fees for both he and Memory are too much for their Grandmother to afford. Grandma is a humble maize farmer and her health is failing her. Her legs are too weak for her to farm much anymore, so she relies on Memory and her two older sisters (both of whom have children and are not yet 20) to farm. Memory’s sisters have assured us that they will make up for Memory’s share of the farming, so that she has an opportunity to go to school.
Thank you to Sandra’s Educational Benefactors, Tom and Carol Deuber!
Sandra, grade 8, has four brothers and sisters. She lost her father some time ago and her Mother works as a housemaid at an office in Kasama. Due to high rent in the town, Sandra’s mother was forced to move to the village, a distance she travels every day to and from work. The distance is too great for Sandra to walk to and from school, so she is living with an older sister in a shanti compound within Kasama. When we asked Sandra what requirements she needed for school, she simply said “food”. We are working with Sandra and her family and hope that, with sponsorship, we will be able to provide Sandra with a bike so that she can be living with her mother and cycling to school.
Thank you to Naomy’s Educational Benefactor, Michelle Barr!
Naomy Chola is 1full of personality with a wonderful smile. She is from the Village of Mulanshi. Because her parents couldn’t afford to send Naomy to boarding school in Kasama, she would have failed to continue her education because there are no secondary schools in her area. Naomy is now free to focus on her studies while boarding at Kasama Girls’ School, and her continued education greatly reduces her risk for early pregnancy and child marriage while increasing her future opportunities.
Thank you to Rabecca’s Educational Benefactors, Gabriele Garcia and Felipe Brescancini!
“My mother and father died on the same day when I was three years old. I was left with my grandmother but she struggled alot. Thank God that after a long time struggling my grandmother came across a woman who knew about Bakashana program . I was very happy to to go back to school and many things have changed in my life now that I know I can continue. I will never disappoint you, I love you and everyone.”
Rabecca is in grade 9. Her parents are subsistence farmers and while they are supporting her and her many brothers and sisters, there was not enough money to send her to school after finishing grade 7. Her marks were quite good, and Bakashana heard her story and decided to select her to attend Laura Girls School and continue her dream of becoming a nurse. First, she promises to put all of her effort into school, and make her family proud.
Thank you to Chisimba’s Educational Benefactors, Sandra Martinez and Gaya Shakes!
Chishimba comes from a small village called Henry Kapata, on the outskirts of Kasama. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother left Chishimba and 2 other children with her sister and relocated. Chishimba was blessed to have an aunt who cared for her and made sure she had enough food to eat, and the chance to go to school. Still, when it came time progress to secondary school, Chishimba’s aunt did not have enough funds to support her own children and Chishimba at the same time. Bakashana heard of Chishimba’s story and her excellent marks in school, and knew it would be a shame for such a hard-working girl, supported by such a devoted aunt, to stop her schooling prematurely. She is now learning at Kasama Girls School on full sponsorship, and she looks forward to earning a degree and helping her Aunt and family in the future.
Thank you to Natasha’s Educational Benefactors, Melissa and Trent Lanz!
Natasha, in grade 9 this year, is a special selection from Bakashana. We pushed her acceptance into the school after learning of her story from her class teacher at a basic school here in Kasama. Natasha’s mother is a single parent raising 8 children, and Natasha has been attending school without paying fees for several years, as the administration at her local basic school saw her potential, and the difficult family situation she was facing, and would not turn her away.
Despite walking many miles to and from school each day, often on an empty stomach and frequently soaked in the rainy season, Natasha still managed to pass her exams. When Bakashana visited her previous school to investigate the stories of some other potential grantees, the administration adamantly campaigned for Natasha’s sponsorship. Her class teacher was almost in tears when describing the girl’s story, and the inspiration that she provides for her classmates. We are excited to provide Natasha with a place in boarding, where she will have food and a short, dry passage to her classes. The prospects for her successful education have just increased significantly, and she is excited to show her potential.
Thank you to Ethel’s Full Sponsor, Jonah Gropper!
Ethel had the highest score of any of our new grantees. Her bright smile and gentle demeanor hide a troubled story. Ethel and her three siblings were living with her mother until her drinking became such a problem that she left her children. At that point Ethel went to live with her Aunt whose husband died 12 years ago. Ethel’s Aunt has taken on the responsibility of caring for her four nieces and nephews in addition to her two children. Ethel’s Auntie sells salt in the nearby market but struggles to provide for so many dependents. Ethel loves school and is very excited to be part of the Bakashana program. Her marks and attitude are excellent, and she is sure to succeed.
Thank you to Queen’s Full Sponsors, Cindy and Ed Valentine!
Queen Musonda is from a village very far from Kasama named Simweo Mwanankonde. She was the only pupil in her grade 7 class to pass her exams. We investigated and found that one month after schools had opened, Queen still had not reported to school. While this could have meant the end of the education road for Queen, Bakashana got in touch with the Head Teacher at her primary school and inquired about her situation. We found that Queen’s mother is alone in supporting her children, and had a failed maize harvest last year. It is for these reasons that she was not able to come up with more than 1,000 Kwacha this term (more than $170) required to enroll her daughter in school. Imagine the implications for a family that lives on “less than $1 a day”. Today, Queen is attending school thanks to Bakashana and her sponsors!
Thank you to Esther’s Educational Benefactors, Cathy and Glen Bengson!
Esther had the highest marks of any young woman who sat for selection into our program this year. She lost her Father in 2002, and then her mother in 2010. With the help of Bakashana and her sponsor, Esther went from living in a grass-thatched house with her 19-year-old brother to staying in boarding at Laura Girls, the finest Boarding accommodation in Kasama! She is the top perfoming pupil in her grade and will go far, having been given the chance. When we asked Esther what she wanted to do when she finished school, she said “I will be a doctor.” If she keeps her spirit and grades up, anything is possible! This young woman is determined!
Thank you to Luswepo’s Educational Benefactor, Pat Mussieux!
Luswepo is slight, but strong! Luswepo stays with her Mother and three siblings. We were surprised when we visited her home, as the directions took us to a more “well-off” part of town. We found that she and her family have struggled since the loss of her father in 2011. They are challenged by the fact that they have no land to farm, and no other way of making an income. This means that they are living in need, but surrounded by abundance -surely a challenging situation for anyone, let alone a teenage girl. Luswepo understands the reality of her situation, and sought out our staff after preliminary interviews, giving us her mother’s phone number and asking us what time we could be expected to visit her home. She was overjoyed to learn that she had been selected to join the Bakashana family.
Thank you to Janet’s Full Sponsor, Paul Sawyer!
Janet Mulenga loves to play netball. Her father passed away in 2003, leaving her mother to support she and her 7 siblings through subsistence farming. When we visited Janet and her mother in her village, Itinti, to explain the goals of our program, Janet’s face lit up with excitement before she silently bowed her head in prayer. Having thought that her opportunity to continue her education had dwindled, Janet was overjoyed to learn that she had been selected to receive support from Bakashana. Janet is the first woman in her family to attend secondary school, and is so thrilled to have picked up a full sponsor who has made the sacrifice to support her and join her on her educational journey!
Thank you to Chanda’s Educational Benefactor, Genevieve Allen!
Chileshe is a shy but tenacious young woman. Her family lives in a shanty compound on the outskirts of town, living a rural existence (grass thatch house, cooking over fire, no running water or electricity) in an urban area which makes life tough for her and her three siblings. During holidays she goes to help her grandparents farm. She is trying her best at school and hopes to be the first in her family to finish grade 12.
Thank you to Audrey’s Educational Benefactor, Joon Park!
Audrey Nachilima is the last born in a family of seven. She lives in a rural area and her family supports themselves through small-scale farming. She hopes to be the first in her family to complete secondary school.
Thank you to Idah’s Sponsors, Cindy and Ed Valentine
Idah is currently a Medical Student at Mulungushi University. She is the oldest of four children. Both of her parents have passed away, leaving Idah, her two brothers and sister orphaned and under the care of their grandfather. Her grandfather was unable to raise funds to pay for school fees, and in many homes, Idah – being the oldest daughter – would not have the option to pursue her secondary education. Instead, she would be held responsible to care for her younger siblings. With the help of Bakashana and her sponsors Cindy and Ed Valentine, Idah completed boarding school at the finest school in Kasama, and scored very high on the state exam. Idah’s strong, quiet presence, and ambition to pursue employment in the medical field after school, pushed her through secondary school. Now, with continued help from Cindy and Ed, and Bakashana, Idah is continuing to follow her dreams!
Ruth is currently on Full Bursary at the University of Zambia studying a BA of Education and Library Studies. Ruth was orphaned at a young age, and her opportunity to pursue a high school education were slim. Thanks to the support she received from Bakashana, Ruth attended school, studied hard, and took advantage of the opportunity she was given to learn at Kasama Girls School. Ruth faced and overcame many challenges, and managed to get good grades and score well on the 12th grade national exam. She then moved to Lusaka and began using her personable nature, her motivation, and help from Bakashana, to search for sponsors for University. She was accepted on full scholarship to the University of Zambia (UNZA), and is now in her last year to complete her degree. We are so proud of Ruth, and look forward to continuing to work together and support her as she becomes Bakashana’s first University Graduate!
Patricia Besa is studying at Kasama Teachers Training College to be a Secondary School Teacher. Patricia is the 3rd of 5 children. In primary school, she passed 8 of 9 classes and had the highest scores on the tests Bakashana administered for admission into scholarship. She is from Mpika district in the village of Lucembe. Patricia was in the Girls Leading our World (GLOW) club and was even selected to go to Lusaka in 2010 where she met Hillary Clinton. Both of Patricia’s parents are living but they struggled with school fees, until Bakashana assisted the family. Many family members are not supportive of Patricia going to school, but her mother and another female relative have encouraged her. Patricia is thrilled to have graduated secondary school, and is working hard to acquire her teaching certificate and procure gainful employment.
Prudence Mulenga is from Lukupa village in Kasama district about 15 km outside of Kasama. Her father died 10 years ago and she lives with her mother and 2 younger sisters. She is outgoing, sassy, and has a passion for drama and art. Since graduating from secodary school, she has been running her own business in the village, producing baked goods. She supports her son and husband and helps her grandmother with farming.
Christine comes from a family who could simply not afford to send her to secondary school. She approached the Bakashana program and fought hard to earn a spot on scholarship. She studied hard and used her good-natured smile and intelligence to help her push through secondary school.
Thank you to Sarah’s Full Sponsors, Pan and Carl Awsumb, Todd and Krystina Barnum, Sherry Hostetter, and Mac and Mo Smith!
Sarah Mwango is the second to last born in a family of five. Her parents are both now in their late 60s and continue to support themselves as subsistence farmers. Sarah is the first in her extended family to have attended high school, so it was quite an accomplishment when she graduated! She comes from Lukupa village, where Justin and Claire have been hosted so graciously for many years. As a reward for her hard work at school and on the farm, she lived at the Bakashana resource center where she fully immerse herself in her studies. Now, she has returned to the farm older, wiser, and with a plan to help her parents make their farm more profitable and productive.
Christabell Chewe is currently attending the Kasama School of Nursing, after graduating from Kasama Girls School in 2018. She has one brother and two sisters, and is the third born. Her father died in January 2006, and since then, her mother has been supporting her and her siblings alone. Her mother, Judith Mulenga, farms small plots of maize to provide for her children. To earn additional money, Judith and her sister brew a hard grain alcohol called kacasu (ka-cha-su) and sell it out of their home. As with many native communities, alcohol has created many social problems in Kasama and surrounding areas, leading to increased rates of crime and domestic abuse. Most of those who consume this liquor are men.
As you can imagine, living at a bar is not easy for a young woman. Against these odds, Christabell worked hard to achieve commendable results at school. For these reasons, and with help from Bakashana, Christabell managed to graduate and is on the path to becoming a nurse!
Marvelous is currently attending Kasama Nursing College after graduating with high marks against all odds! Marvelous’ father died when she was 10 years old, and since that time, her mother has supported 8 children on her own by subsistence farming. She is one of four girls and has four brothers as well. The family lives in a single-room, grass-thatched house. Marvelous was one of 4 girls from her primary school to pass her grade 7 national exams and be selected to move on to secondary school. Marvelous is outgoing, athletic, and passionate about school. She said that being admitted to Nursing school, and being chosen to be sponsored by the Bakashana family have been the greatest achievements of her life.
Susan is a quiet force who loves football and comes alive when performing in drama skits or reciting poetry. She lives with her mother and 3 older sisters in Bwembya village. Before graduating, Susan walked the 15 KM to and from her village to Laura Girls School each day, proving to her family and the bakashana family her ambition to become educated. Susan’s mother is a subsistence farmer who has found it challenging to support her 5 daughters on her own. Bakashana is excited that Susan is a part of our family.
Theresa’s story was brought/to our attention in the second term of the school year because her case was urgent. As she told us, Bakashana was her last hope. Though the brightest and highest-scoring in her grade 9 class, Theresa’s lack of family support and finances prevented her from starting grade 10 on-time. We were fortunate to secure a spot for her at a Boarding school about 100 km outside of Kasama. The Head Teacher only agreed to enroll her (though she missed the first term) because of her outstanding marks and proactive attitude. Theresa has been living with her Grandparents since 2009, after her Father passed away and Mother abandoned her and her two siblings, not to be seen or heard from for more than 11 years. Theresa’s life at home with her grandparents is not conducive to learning, and she has had a rough go.
Regardless of these obstacles, she has persevered and pro-actively pursued the future that she knows she deserves instead of sitting back and letting her life pass her by. We feel grateful to have such a confident, well-spoken and strong young woman as part of the Bakashana family.
“I stopped going to school in grade seven because my parents were having a hard time finding money for school. I stayed home, after we found some money I repeated grade seven. I managed to pass again but there was still no money for school. We used to pray as a family for help. We asked other family members for help but they were facing their own problems. We asked neighbors, friends, and schools but nothing changed. We never lost hope and continued praying.”
Paxina was being taken care of by her Grandmother and Mother, both of whom are peasant farmers. She passed her grade 9 national exam three years in a row, but each year repeated because the family didn’t have enough money to send her to school in town. Finally, \Paxina’s story was brought to our attention by a Peace Corps Volunteer, Katie. Paxina travelled from neighboring District Mbala to be a part of the Bakashana program and complete her education at Kasama Girls School.
Veronica graduated from a Skills School in Kasama, and is searching for a job in tailoring. She was recommended by the Head Teacher at Laura Girls School. She had come to school in 2014 in need of assistance, but her grades were not good enough for her to be admitted. On recommendation, she repeated grade 8 at the school in her village, and achieved her goal, passing with high marks last year. Veronica has always wanted to go to Laura Girls School, and has been showing up on weekends to help in small ways with gardening and washing in order to secure a place for herself. She lost both of her parents at a young age. Since that time, she has been staying with her single Aunt who gets by selling fry cakes.