Boston and Pascal, both our Alumni and refugees from Meheba Camp in Zambia, are supporting other refugees while at university, and their efforts are reflecting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:
Pestalozzi Alumni: Boston.
Financially Supporting Refugee Businesses
64,560 people are displaced refugees in Zambia and Boston is one of them.
We spoke with Boston back in 2022, when he was struggling to see his future at university. He had been offered to study Applied Computer Technology at United States International University Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya. Unfortunately due to his refugee status his chances of getting there two years after graduating from high school, were looking slim. The issues behind nationality and getting a passport for a refugee child are difficult and complex. It can take its toll on even the most optimistic individual.
Boston has lived in Zambia his whole life in Meheba Refugee camp, North-western Province. His mother, an Angolan refugee, still lives there with Boston’s five younger siblings (sadly his father passed away soon after joining us.) Thankfully he spent most of his teenage life at our Pestalozzi Village, and he said:
“My life as a refugee has been a rollercoaster. Full of challenges, setbacks, fun moments with various cultures to engage with within the camp. Life is really not easy living in the camp, but for eight years now I have been with Pestalozzi and this is really my home now.”
During Boston’s eight years with us, he was an outstanding Pestalozzi student who passed all his exams with distinctions, became president of the maths and art clubs and represented Pestalozzi Zambia in African Science Week.
Volunteering at University
Finally Boston has made it to university and already in his first year, in true Pestalozzian spirit, he has begun helping other refugees in Nairobi. He has become president of two leadership groups, the Transformative Leadership Group and the Martin Luther King Jr Group. The MasterCard Foundation (who also supported Boston through his tertiary education) have supported and made both groups available to scholars. Boston said:
“The MasterCard Foundation sponsors projects that aim at giving back to the community. As a group, we identify a need and come up with creative ideas to impact positive change in meeting that need.
“An example of a project we developed, was to give fellow refugees in Nairobi, insight into entrepreneurship, and leadership, and then finance their various business ventures. We keep in contact with them to see how they’re growing their business and impacting their community.”
He added: “I was privileged to speak to fellow refugee youths in Nairobi Kenya, disheartened by the discrimination they face. I’m glad my team and I were able to financially help support the various businesses they are doing.”
In just a short period of time Boston’s voluntary work has already impacted the lives of others.
It is also reflecting the UN’s SDGs for:
- reducing poverty
- reducing inequalities
- creating decent work and economic growth.
Pestalozzi Alumni, Pascal.
On a mission to change the lives of single mothers in the Meheba Refugee Camp.
Pascal Milambo Muzungu, a refugee and former student from our Pestalozzi Zambian Village, has also begun innovative work supporting single refugee mothers. After looking closely at the needs of the people in his refugee camp, he began in November 2022, The Single Refugee Mothers Empowerment Innovation (SIREME Innovation).
The program began because of the observation and research Pascal did on the daily life struggles that the refugee mothers face as well as his passion for finding a durable solution to the different challenges faced by refugees in the camp where he was raised. He said:
“One major challenge faced is hardship among single refugee mothers. These are widows, divorcees and unmarried women who are leading and taking care of their families. They are not employed and do not have enough capital to start or run businesses that can help them generate ample income. They mainly depend on their subsistence farming produce for survival and frequently run into debt, with their lifestyles leading to negative effects such as hunger, malnutrition, inadequate housing, lack of funds to support their children through education and due to their status as a refugee, are unable to be employed or to gain subsidies from their host country.”
Pascal graduated from our Pestalozzi Education Centre with 1st class distinction, (GCE O’ Level, 7 points). He went on to acquire a MasterCard scholarship in 2022 to pursue a degree in Business Administration (Logistics and supply chain management / Business information technology) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.
During his first long vacation break, he worked with Mr Victor Kamona, a rural development specialist working with the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan, within the Meheba camp, who helped him to officially launch SIREME Innovation, early this year. Pascal adds:
“SIREME Innovation is a developmental initiative that aims to provide funds and capital to ultra-poor single refugee mothers to enable them to start a business of their choice. The business will then enable them to make profits which they can use to cater for their daily basic needs with ease. This is a durable solution as it is well structured and provides for both sustainability and scalability.”
Pascal concluded for us the outcomes of a Pestalozzi education, as he said:
“Being selected by Pestalozzi gives refugee students the privilege to achieve the great dreams that lie in their potential. At Pestalozzi, students are advised to halt any unethical character or vices that may cost them their future e.g. drug abuse. This gives them the foundation of their studies and again the essential leadership and technical skills needed to spearhead change in their various communities by finding durable solutions to long-perpetuating problems. For instance, the SIREME Innovation Project.”
Our Pestalozzi ethos and values driven by our supporters, is to see outcomes and impacts such as these created by Boston and Pascal. As Alumni they have through their own initiative, gone on to find innovative ways to support their communities, to give back and to change the lives for the next generation. Pascal is already hitting the UN SDGs by:
- reducing poverty,
- reducing inequality
- creating gender equality
- Providing decent jobs and economic growth
And these two Alumni have only just begun.
If you would like to read Pascal’s full report regarding the progress of SIREME Innovation, please click here.
A huge thank you to Boston and Pascal for sharing their stories. Life as a refugee is an uphill struggle as they have both described, which makes it even more remarkable their determination to help others through similar situations.
Pestalozzi Zambia aims to select 40% of its children each year from refugee backgrounds. This is because our supporters and teams believe that children who receive education and skills training are more likely to succeed in the future. It is also a powerful tool for empowering those who are most vulnerable and nowhere is this more evident than in Zambia where 54.5% of its population live below the poverty line.
A Pestalozzi World education not only helps our Alumni to create and build new lives for themselves, but it also contributes to long-term stability and growth in their communities. To date, 90% of our Alumni have remained in their country of origin, most supporting their communities and/or economies with careers in the public service, running businesses, and volunteering – with 64% supporting their communities once they become Alumni.
Our supporters believe that Children’s abilities are the same everywhere, but opportunity isn’t.
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