Esther is a student from Chinsali District, Zambia. It’s not unusual for many young women like her to end her education after 7th grade. But, with the support of Fossil Foundation through our partner, Camfed, Esther is able to continue her education and is now looking ahead to fulfilling her dream of bringing healthcare and sanitation to the communities in Zambia that need it most. We reached out to Esther to learn more about her journey.
Can you tell us about your home life?
I am the second born in a family of six. I live with my mother—I call her my mother, but she is my stepmother. My (biological) mother is dead. My father is around, but he does not do anything to support me in terms of education. My mother does some small businesses, like selling kapenta (dried sardines) at the market to get at least some money for food. We all live (in a) one bedroom house. I sometimes sleep on a mattress on the ground, but there are not enough for all of us. Now that I am here at school, my sleep is much different.
What do you like about school?
I love being in school because I’m learning how to be knowledgeable enough to be successful. I want to be successful in the future. I have so many big dreams. I want to become a medical doctor when I grow up. I love dealing with sick people because I encourage them that, “it is not the end of the world,” and I can give them some medicine, if I am able.
Tell us about the day you found out you were going to receive a Camfed bursary.
I was very happy. I went for the holiday with my auntie, and when I was there the results came out and I was told, “You’re going to grade 8.” I was so happy—my mother and I celebrated. We jumped and hugged a lot.
What have you learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that I’m a very courageous person. That is not only me saying that, it is what I am told from other people.
Why do you think people say that?
I love standing in front of a lot of people and speaking. I am a public speaker.
What message do you have for other girls in your village?
I have many friends who are married. I would encourage them to go back to school.
Why is it important to invest in your future?
Getting educated is how you become someone in life. When you get educated, it’s not only about being a doctor, being an accountant. You also do other things through that education you have acquired. For example, I take home management, so I know how to cook—we learn all about food and nutrition—so I can apply that to my life.
How do you want to change the world?
I want to see a healthier community here in Zambia. For example, there is this global disease which is HIV and AIDS. I want to form cooperatives, or at least a club, to educate people about the dangers of HIV and AIDS and to encourage the people who have HIV and AIDS to lead a positive life. I want to make sure there is good sanitation in the community.