GIRL UP! And more with Denise, our unstoppable young alumna student who is changing the world with her Pestalozzi values

Part2: Interview with Denise Kisimba: Pestalozzi World Zambia 2022

Pestalozzi Alumni Student: Denise Kisimba

Meet Denise Kisimba. She graduated from Pestalozzi World Zambia in 2021, and is ready to begin her university education at the United States International University – Africa, thanks to a MasterCard Foundation scholarship to study International Relations. (At the time of filming, we didn’t know if she had been offered a place – but she got it!)

She is an excellent example of Pestalozzi World’s children’s ambition and determination, which is owed in large part to the outstanding teams who surround our children in our Pestalozzi villages.

Giving back to her community

Denise, a Congolese national, has returned to the refugee camp where she grew up, Maheba camp in Zambia’s northwestern province, where she founded the ‘GIRL UP’ group to support girls who have become pregnant, particularly those who have not had an education.

She said: “If you go in the village most of the girls have set their standards very low, considering the fact that they haven’t had people to orient them like for me, i can thank Pestalozzi mothers, they’ve taught us how to live and also they’ve given us different skills on how we can help ourselves whilst out there living,
and so we also transfer the same knowledge to the girls back in the village, so we teach them how to take care of themselves despite them being pregnant there’s still a future ahead of them and how can they take care of their child.”

Denise and her team at GIRL UP give counselling and encouragement to these girls to allow them to see that they do have options of how to support themselves, and that they do not have to give up on their education.

Here our Pestalozzi students are with their Matron, Christabale Hankombo, who encourages the children to visit communities in need and to give back in any way they can – here with an 84 year old lady who is the sole caregiver to her granddaughter (asleep on the left).

The Pestalozzi Ethos

Denise, like all of our Pestalozzi students, was raised with the Pestalozzi ethos instilled in her. Our ethos encourages people to give back to the communities in which they live. Their house parents and matrons, who have general care and responsibility for the children’s wellbeing and extracurricular activities such as going out into their local communities and assisting people in need, develop this strong desire to give back.

Reaching her full potential

You’ll hear how these principles are a part of who Denise is and who she aspires to be in this interview with her. She possesses compassion and a desire to help others, as well as a knowledge of what it is like to live in poverty, as all of our students come from locations where they would not be able to receive an education that would allow them to reach their full potential.

Future Leaders and Change markers

Denise and our other students like her are unique and vital in today’s world. Because they have the abilities and compassion to lead, and the motivation and determination to do so.

Watch her full interview here:

Denise Kisimba: Pestalozzi Zambia Alumna 2022

Full Interview here:

My names are Denise Kisimba, I’m a Pestalozzi alumni. I joined Pestalozzi world in 2012, I started at Kasisi Foundation House and I have learned how to use my Head, Heart and Hands. With my Heart, I learnt to tolerate different people and I learnt how to associate with different people And I use my Head to push with my academics and then I use my hands for different skills. I’ve gotten all these skills from our house mothers, especially the matron. She would engage us in different activities such as knitting and also gardening and then we’d spend most of our time prepping So that we can improve our Head, like the standard.

I am a refugee from Maheba, Maheba camp in North Western province. So from the knowledge I gained at Pestalozzi, I initiated a Girl Up team in Maheba refugee camp. So we focus on helping girls uplifting their standards especially those that have fallen pregnant before but they still want to continue with life. If you go in the village most of the girls have set their standards very low considering the fact that they haven’t had people to orient them. Like for me, I can thank Pestalozzi mothers, they’ve taught us how to live and also they’ve given us different skills on how we can help ourselves whilst out there living and so we also transfer the same knowledge to the girls back in the village so we teach them how to take care of themselves despite them being pregnant there’s still a future ahead of them how can they take care of their children in case the man who got them pregnant doesn’t want to support the child so what can you do.?

We encourage them to take their HIV tests and after that we encourage them. Even if they are found HIV positive, we know how to go about it so that they shouldn’t lose hope and then we also do some girls’ talk under the talk, we usually sensitize them on health and also we tried with the corona, we also talked about the COVID 19 and how it can affect them and also how they can earn a living whilst living under the guidance of their parents.

And then I’m very passionate about working under the UNHCR because I have lived under the UNHCR for a long period of time and that’s why i want to pursue International relations as my career so that I can combat injustice and also how refugees are treated in other countries so that they may feel at home and also what kind of opportunities are open for refugees living in other countries yes.

So am here today, to do the interviews under the MasterCard scholars and under MasterCard i want to attain a scholarship to study International relations as a career and i am very passionate about it because I want to uh to play a major role in combating injustice and also bringing solutions to the problems that the world is facing today like wars, and also pandemics and also we may not know what the world may bring in the next years.

So I’m very passionate about, contributing highly to the community and solving the matters that are rising in today’s world and that’s why i want to do International Relations and mainly I want to work under the UNHCR specifically because i want to help refugees and also promote social justice among different refugees living in different countries

Under my leadership, I was the vice head girl of Pestalozzi education centre in 2019. I have handled different positions and what leadership means to me, for me i would say you have to be fearless and you also have to stand up for what you think is right despite facing the majority, you really have to stand up for people and as a leader you must put other people’s needs first and then put yourself later and also under leadership i was also the president of JETS club and also, I was also a team leader for netball club and also football girls’ soccer, yes, and under our coach Marissa yes. And also we’ve had different tournaments and most of them we’ve been winning under my leadership especially yes, so i learnt different skills how to cooperate with different kinds of people especially under sports you find today someone doesn’t want to play and something like that so you just have to know how to talk to somebody. So that made me improve my communication skills as you can see!

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Pestalozzi village Zambia

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