Audacious Under 24: Meet Jahnnai

Fossil Foundation celebrates young people who are charting their own course to a brighter future. Audacious Under 24 takes you into their world—in their words.


Jahnnai knows the importance of grit.

The 19-year-old student from the Luapula province of Zambia has overcome her share of obstacles to get to where she is today. When Jahnnai finished school, she joined Camfed’s alumnae network, CAMA, which connects and empowers 100,000 young women across Africa to use their education, curiosity and leadership skills to inspire others. Now, she runs her own business and hopes to study physiotherapy in college.

Jahnnai credits CAMA’s Shaping My Future program for instilling confidence and teaching her the right skills to achieve her goals. Her experiences have even sparked a close family member to start her own journey to independence.


Tell us about your day-to-day life prior to joining the CAMA program.


I lost my father at the age of 11. When I passed seventh grade, the teachers in my school saw that my mother was struggling to pay for my school fees. She was a widow with six children. When Camfed came to my school, the teachers submitted my name to receive support, and in eighth grade, I became a Camfed scholar.


What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned through the program?


Through CAMA’s Shaping My Future program I learned how to run a business and all about the importance of banking, along with communication and leadership skills.


Tell us about a moment or experience that has been the most meaningful?


After the Shaping My Future program, we were given grants, which I used to set up my business. I manage that business with the skills I was taught. Now I am able to pay for myself to take short courses in ICT (Information and Computer Technology) at a youth resource center.


What do you imagine for your future now that you’ve finished the program?


Now that I am finished with the program I imagine my future to be very bright. I want to be independent. I don’t want to be dependent on others, but for others to be able to depend on me.


I imagine my future to be very bright. I want to be independent. I don’t want to be dependent on others, but for others to be able to depend on me.

My role model is my paternal uncle. He is the most educated person in my entire family and has the courage to speak up for what he thinks is right. I want to be like him—educated and strong.


Describe a situation where you were able to inspire or help another youth on their personal journey?


I’ve inspired my sister, who is entering twelfth grade this year. When Camfed chose me, I became very serious about my life and passed twelfth grade. After that, I began the Shaping My Future program and have been putting what I learned to use. I started my own business and am able to take short courses. My sister was really inspired by my experience and says she too will work very hard to become independent.


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