‘The 17th September 2011 is the day I will never forget in my entire life’ says Milimo Mukombwe beaming with smiles and hands in the air. Milimo is a 13 year old grade 7 girl in Lusaka, Zambia. A participant of ‘Train-Coach-Mentor’ Girls Project by Greight Foundation in her community.
Milimo's story is similar to that of Martha-both from Zambia, participated in Greight Foundation’s Self-Development and Leadership Training, paired with mentors in different countries and started exchanging letters and emails with their mentors. Milimo’s mentor, Liesl Harewood is from Guyana but based in Barbados.
Unlike Martha, Milimo had some challenges at the beginning. Communicating with her mentor was quite challenging. Some of her letters got lost. As if that was not enough she had no access to the internet nor email address. But why is this particular day the most important day for the 7th grade girl? Just at the point where Milimo almost gave up her mentor showed up in her country-Zambia!
Her Mentor-Liesl was in Zambia as an international election monitor representing the Commonwealth. Liesl invited Milimo to a dinner with diginitaries. The young girl could not believe it was real as she dined with prominent figures around the world who had gathered to monitor the election in her country. At her age she knew if she would have a better life there has to be a peaceful democratic election which will help everyone live in peace. When there is peace, I can go to school-I am dreaming of going to the university some day says Milimo in an exciting tone
As Milimo sat on the dining table with other dignitaries from other Commonwealth countries she confessed ‘I still cannot believe it. Meeting all these people and listening to them is enough encouragement for me to study hard in school and become someone very important to the world some day when I grow up’
For Liesl, when she first volunteered to mentor a girl she never had the slightest idea she could meet her in less than a year and most importantly to be dinning and encouraging her in person. In a mixed feeling tone of excitement, surprise and pride she expressed “I am very happy I met my mentee in person, I never expected to meet my mentee in person”The Caribbean woman mentor Liesl gave a gift of a book, scarf, some money to buy school books and school shoes.For Milimo, it is still a dream. In a happy tone she confesses ‘I am grateful for the smiles, the time, the gifts she gave me, they really meant something in my life.’
Meeting successful people mean lot to girls from difficult backgrounds as they challenge and inspire them to think big and aim high. A case in point is Milimo ’Someday I wish to be like Liesl my mentor- a woman of character, visionary and kind’.As a long term support Liesl introduced Milimo to a Zambian member of the Commonwealth who promised to and connect Milimo to and involve her in the Commonwealth youth programme and activities when she turns 15 years old.
Milimo Mukombwe is a participant of ‘Train-Coach-Mentor’ Girls Project in Zambia. Girls in Ghana, Kenya, Nepal and Zambia are currently participating and benefitting from this project. If you would like to be a mentor or support this project in any way please email us- firstname.lastname@example.org