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Mwamba,
CAMA Member, Zambia

Mwamba was born in Samfya District, Zambia. When still very young, both of her parents tragically passed away, leaving her and her four siblings in the care of an aunt. With no formal education or employment, Mwamba’s aunt struggled to feed and clothe the whole family. In such desperate circumstances, school fees and other needed items seemed an impossible luxury in the day-to-day fight for survival.

When Mwamba was in Grade 8 her family’s circumstances worsened and, as a consequence, she was forced to drop out of school. Observing the the burden of responsibility her aunt was struggling with, and the seeming hopelessness of the situation, Mwamba realised that only route out of this cycle of poverty was to take herself back to school.

To this end, Mwamba started selling popcorn and other snacks, but she still wasn’t earning enough to cover her school-going costs. Seeing her plight, a Teacher Mentor at Mwamba’s school reached out to her and subsequently recommended her for a Camfed bursary.  Mwamba’s dreams of returning to school and becoming a nurse were, once again, ignited. With a Camfed bursary covering her school needs, Mwamba was able to save enough from her job as a snack vendor to look after her family. With continued support from Camfed, in 2007 Mwamba completed Grade 12.

“I feel very happy because I am influencing change in other people’s lives so that they can achieve the same things that I have.”

After graduating high school, Mwamba joined the Camfed Alumnae Association, CAMA, and was among the first to attend the Leadership and Enterprise program in Lubwe, where she gained the skills and confidence she needed to start her own business.

With a small grant from Camfed, Mwamba opened a salon and restaurant, where she currently manages three employees. “From the profits I earn, I am influencing change in other people’s lives. I am able to support four orphans, and it has brought me a lot of respect from society." Mwamba is now a happily married mother, ploughing back the benefits of her own education into her family.  By reinvesting the profits from her business into her children’s and siblings’ education she is making strides towards breaking the cycle of poverty for good.

Thanks to the training received through CAMA, Mwamba was able to set up a successful restaurant.

Thanks to the training received through CAMA, Mwamba was able to set up a successful restaurant. (Photo: Eliza Powell/Camfed)

A double entrepreneur: Mwamba owns and manages a salon located at the same premises as her restaurant. (Photo: Eliza Powell/Camfed)

“Being able to provide for my own needs has made me value myself, and it has brought me a lot of respect from society.”

Mwamba is still running her restaurant, and hopes to access a Kiva loan to help her expand her thriving business. However, she has not given up on her dream of pursuing a career in nursing, and plans to repeat the subjects she needs in order to gain a place at nursing college. “I like nursing because of the human face attached to it. I have struggled so much in my life and I want to give back by helping women in hospitals and the community at large. I want to educate the women on health matters.”

With the profits from her businesses Mwamba supports her family and other vulnerable children in the community. By investing in their education she is helping to turn the tide of poverty. (Photo: Eliza Powell/Camfed)

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