Monday, August 11, 2014

Justine Mushitu on Volunteerism


By Justine Buchizya Mushitu
IB student at Sussex Coast College, in Hastings – UK.

I am the first born out of five children of a former taxi driver and a housewife. When I was born, by parents were living in extreme poverty. Because the last thing my parents needed, at the time, was another mouth to feed, my grandmother named me Buchizya, the Bemba word for “unexpected.”

My name is Justine Buchizya Mushitu and I am 18 years old. Because my mother isn’t employed and my father’s work is unstable, paying for a quality secondary school education and international travel expenses would have been impossible. However, with financial assistance and support from the Kucetekela Foundation, I have successfully completed my high school education at a top private school in Lusaka and travelled the world without my parents paying anything.

                Because I am grateful for the rich experiences that the local and global communities have provided for me, I felt compelled to start giving back to my own community at a young age. When I was 15, I started a waste management club at Chalo Trust School. In the beginning, I struggled to build credibility as my friends and fellow classmates failed to take my initiative seriously. However, I had the opportunity to attend a conference in California through an organization? called ‘Green Contributor.’ When I returned to school in Lusaka, I was able to incorporate new ideas and concepts I learned at the conference into my club, and the organization began to take off. This dedication paid off when I was later selected as a UNICEF Climate Youth Ambassador. Working under UNICEF has given me a chance to fulfill my passion for voluntary work in addition to exposing me to new experiences. 
These kinds of opportunities have awarded me with skills I couldn’t have learned in the classroom or from my parents. Most importantly, such exposure and experience has developed the problem-solving and critical thinking skills necessary for young leaders to succeed. Through volunteerism, I have started clubs, reported for the national youth magazine ‘Junior Reporters,’ and sensitized other students on conservation issues. I’ve danced for hundreds of strangers at fundraising events in England, performed a story for children on the Isle of Man, and volunteered for the British Heart Foundation. In short, volunteering experiences have helped me to lead a meaningful life.

Despite these successes, volunteering is not without its challenges. Despite personal failures like being the only member in my club for the first month, or presenting a story to a single listener, I have persevered. To be a successful volunteer, one must be committed, enthusiastic, and learn to work within a team. I will always remember what a gentleman said to me on my first day as a UNICEF volunteer, “happiness is a state of mind in which it finds pleasure.” Like the saying goes, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

As a global citizen for change, I have inspired both youth and adults to seek a better world. People must learn to give back to the community because we are all who we are because of everybody else. Giving back to one’s community could be financial, social, or moral in nature. Although I am financially sponsored by the Isle of Man to study the International baccalaureate through Pestalozzi in the UK, I am giving back to society by volunteering for UNICEF in Zambia over my summer break. Let’s not create a world where nothing taken is given.

No comments:

Post a Comment