(By Natalie Ngosa and Charles Tembo)
QUEEN Elizabeth II has recognised John Zimba, representing Zambia, as the 70th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional voluntary service promoting literacy in rural Zambia. Zimba has founded the Chiparamba Trust which promotes literacy and citizenship to help give young people in rural Zambia a better start in life.
“After completing his Chevening Scholarship studying education policy at the University of Glasgow in 2016, Zimba was inspired to return to Zambia and give back to his local community through educational programmes.
Drawing on nearly a decade of experience as a teacher, his projects tackle community issues such as teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, and youth disengagement.
Last year, Zimba decided to build a primary school from scratch to help disadvantaged children in his hometown in the Eastern Province of Zambia. With 60 per cent of the Zambian population living in poverty, without Zimba’s school over 200 children would not be in education at all,” according to a statement issued by the British High Commission in Lusaka.
“As a result of his community work, Zimba was selected to take part in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.
By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.”
Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. Zimba’s award was presented yesterday at the British High Commission in Lusaka by Fergus Cochrane-Dyet.
“This award really came unexpected and I am extremely humbled. It comes at a time when I am from being awarded as a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow, another prestigious award. I went there for a six week training in Civic Leadership in the USA. The Queen’s award is exceptional and it strengthens my resolve to continue the fight for the marginalised groups in the society I live in. It’s the apex of my career and I’m short of words,” Zimba said.
“I got inspired by this quote engraved on the wall at the Martin Luther King Jnr Memorial Sq in Washington DC during my visit and it reads, ‘make a career of humanity, commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights, you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.’ Martin Luther King Jnr 1959. This is the feeling I have after being nominated for this award. It’s the legacy I am committed to pursue and live by. It’s the quote I want to be reflected in my story as you announce it.”
And High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet said Zimba deserved the award.
“You richly deserve this award, John, for your splendid work which I saw for myself when you took me to the village near Chipata in August last year,” said High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet.