Zero to hero – ‘I didn’t want anyone to defeat me’

Afonso was born in Angola, and due to the war he came to Zambia as a refugee. He was fortunate enough to be selected by Pestalozzi World

“Life as a refugee was very hard. It was difficult to make money in the camps so my parents struggled to pay for school. If I had stayed I might have ended up like some of my friends, some are drunkards, some of them are beggars. Before I was selected I wasn’t really serious about school, I didn’t always go to school. If I hadn’t been selected I could not imagine making it to grade 7.

The first day at Pestalozzi World I was scared. When I entered the gates I was thinking ‘what am I going to speak’ because I thought they had picked me by mistake. I didn’t know how to speak English, or Nyanja, or any other local language. I couldn’t answer any questions in class, I thought they might return me back home but they kept on helping me and explaining how to do it and I improved a lot.
Grade 5 was difficult, I didn’t get good marks but I remember my fellow students trying to help me by telling me to revise more and in the final exams of grade 6 I came third place! So from there to when I went to the bigger school, I grew up a lot. Zero to hero! I was always number 1, 2 or 3 in the exams! I didn’t want anyone to defeat me! When I was selected to be the Head Boy of the school, nobody thought it would be me!

Most of the behaviours I have today were developed at Pestalozzi, respecting our parents, respecting elders, respecting our peers and also being able to recognise when people need help.

Pestalozzi World has given me the key to open different doors and an education, without it I wasn’t going to be anybody. So giving me education and skills, that was the best thing I was given.”

Giving back

“Since leaving Pestalozzi I have been sponsoring 5 children in the community here at Mayukyukwa camp. For example, where I work, there is a very bright learner and he had no money to pay for his school fees and when I met the parents, they are from a humble background, so I started to sponsor this boy. I started last year and this year I am planning to help another child.

Motivation for our community through music

We started a musical group called Zam-Ango Records bringing together Zambians and Angolans, we sing songs which are a motivation to the community. We try to involve youth who have been smoking and get them involved in these activities if they stop smoking. We are starting to develop a website to upload our songs. We all contributed money for our own studio, most of those involved are Pestalozzi alumni.

Teaching classes to read and write in English

It started as a musical group but now we want to include other things and parents come with ideas, they also want their children to be taught to read and write. So we hope to start classes for children to learn to read and write in English.

Life after Pestalozzi World – Professional Career

I am a coach working at Edulution, my workplace is at Mayukyukwa camp. I want to give back to my community. I also work outside the camp where there is no network and in those schools we work with grade 4-grade 7. We have about 220 learners in the programme. We collaborate with the headteachers and the sessions are running well. Edulution has been my best job so far. The experience is very fantastic as it focuses on mathematics which is my favourite subject! It has really motivated me and taught me good values. First value, ‘we are the change tribe’ then second ‘when one succeeds we all succeed’, we have to work together. ‘Alone we cannot, together we can!’ ‘Something for something, nothing for nothing’. Feel these values fit with what we were taught at Pestalozzi World. “

How Pestalozzi has changed my world – the key to be successful in life

Pestalozzi has changed my world and I can say you have sponsored someone who will not disappoint. I have tried my best to grab most of the opportunities and I am trying to share those with others who have limited opportunities. Pestalozzi has given me the key to be successful in life and I am trying to help others and make a movement which would represent Pestalozzi at a high level.

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