Zambian youths ‘stand together’ with cyclone survivors


LAST month, a youth-led campaign called We Stand Together embarked on a mission to gather supplies and relief aid for victims of Cyclone Idai.
The cyclone hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in early April, leaving hundreds dead and thousands homeless.
The We Stand Together campaign was an idea of a youth initiative called Be Relevant Leadership programme, led by Mwila Bwanga, James Mwenda and Timothy Sapato.
Mwila sought to persuade his fellow young people that instead of only expressing sympathy for victims of Cyclone Idai, they should find a way of offering assistance to their affected brothers and sisters in the three countries.
“I woke up one morning and as per custom I would tune to BBC, and from the news it reported on the many lives that were lost and the many people that were left homeless, and from that point I decided to engage other young people that we may embark on such a great and noble selfless mission,” Mwila said.
He said several young people were engaged to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and they began to mobilise resources and supplies in aid of the cyclone victims.
Mwila said from the time the campaign started, the team of young people was able to receive diverse supplies from many well-meaning Zambians.
Among supplies collected over the next few weeks were bags of mealie meal, sanitary pads, diapers, washing and bathing soap, rice, spaghetti, soya chunks, cooking oil, sugar and toiletries.
The team was also able to collect over 100 pairs of male, female and baby shoes, more than 20 boxes of adults and baby clothes as well as bags, belts and blankets.
“The supplies generated were beyond anticipated and overwhelming. Such would not have been possible if it weren’t for the many Zambians that extended a helping hand to the noble cause,” Mwila said.
However, the supplies were not in sufficient quantities to distribute among the three countries. The team therefore, decided to take the supplies to the country most affected, Mozambique, which was also hit by Cyclone Kenneth last week.
The team was geared to travel in order to deliver the supplies but was advised not to for security and safety reasons, because Cyclone Kenneth was about to make landfall.
On April 26, the team opted to hand over the supplies to the Mozambique High Commission in Lusaka.
Mozambique High Commissioner Jeronimo Chivavi received the supplies on behalf of his government, saying he was proud that a team of young people could engage in such a noble initiative.
“According to the High Commissioner, the supplies received were the most in comparison to what they have received so far,” said Mwila.
“There is no greater duty than to give a part of yourself to a fellow African brother and sister in need. Such a noble cause should encourage many stakeholders out there to give a part of themselves to our fellow Africans in dire need of our help.”

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