Inspirational Role Model, Carlos
When on occasions my ‘get up and go has got up and gone’ and my motivation is draining through my toes I like to draw on some of the inspirational people in my life to kick start myself and give myself a little reality check.
Many of the inspirational people I have met in my life come from a remote area in Zambia called Mfuwe where day to day existence can be a challenge. Many have the strength and courage of the lions that also live there to drive them on to firstly survive daily life and secondly succeed. Also most of them are young enough to be my children!
There are many stories I want to share as they are both humbling and motivational. They also make me proud that I have shared part of my life with them and they still call me Mum!
I have decided I would start with Carlos who has more ‘get up and go’ of anyone I know and every set back and challenge he meets just makes him stronger and more determined to succeed.
I met Carlos while managing a children's charity in Mfuwe, Zambia though a good friend who is also the Head Mistress of the secondary school.
When Mrs Chabala called me to say there was a boy she would like me to me and that he needed sponsorship I knew there was a real need to support this young man. Mrs Chabala could spot potential from a mile off and also understood fully the plight of the young generation living in a rural community village and could identify the really vulnerable ones.
Teenage boys who have had not been able to attend school for various reasons through no fault of their own could easily veer down a very rocky and hard road of alcohol, causing teenage pregnancy, unemployment and more. This was not to be for Carlos whose background would have caused many of us to give up at the first hurdle.
After meeting Carlos and getting to know him it was apparent that he had an appetite for life that needed to be supported and if I could find him that support it would not only help his own life but the community as well.
You see Carlos has big plans just like any ambitious teenager in any country and why should being bought up in an undeveloped country make it impossible for him to achieve his goals? No reason at all!
It takes a lot more hard work and belief but it can happen and when it does it makes the world a better place!
One day Carlos was happily with his family to quickly becoming an orphan and being passed from pillar to post with no certain future or chance of education.
Carlos story highlights how he bettered himself and by doing this he can motivate and teach the local community much needed skills in order to live a better life. His focus is on sustenance, empowering woman and encouraging young children who may not be lucky enough to attend school that they have other skills that can be used in order to live better.
He is doing this through his Community Talent Foundation Project which is all his own work and idea and as always – inspiring!
Please watch the videos attached as this really does highlight what he has achieved and with the right support behind him what he will achieve. It will be brick by brick but I know he will do it!
Over to Carlos as he tells the story better than I do!
My name is Carlos B Mulenga, age 24, I was born Isoka which is in the Northern part of Zambia. I was born in a family of 3, 2 boys and a girl……. All of my family died, and I am the only one alive, my elder sister died first, seconded by my young brother, what killed I still don’t what killed them. I still don’t understand, Later Mum stopped eating which I know that she was broken with the loss of my brother and sister….. and one night she died while she was seated in the living room……I remained
I remained with my Dad, and mostly when am with him I could see him crying, due to his crying, my grandma decided to take me away from him. Later when I was in Grade 2 in school my Dad died, and now was left no one but my grandma… MY EDUCATION was disturbed, life changed to living poor.
In Zambia education is only free from grade 1 to 7. When I reached Grade 6 my Uncles brother offered to help looking after me so moved to Kapiri Mposhi town within Central province. There I did my Grade 7 and qualified to go to Grade 8. It started OK, but my uncle was not employed, but was a Toiler, he could not afford to support me. I had to stop school and my chance of education.
For something to do I joined a football team. I was quite talented and got lots of enjoyment from it. I received an arm dislocation and had to nurse myself couldn’t go to the hospital because of the financial problem. The injury made me go on break on my football talent and I started to be found hanging in the street. I managed to find work at a Video show centre attending to customer for a little money for daily food.
I was then moved again to another relative who lived in the Eastern Province as he had heard of my struggle and wanted to support my education. I was very happy that I could start school again but it meant another move to a very small rural village in the Eastern Province called Mfuwe. It was another move for me and I did not know what was ahead for me but I went as I was promised education which made me happy.
Things did not go the way they sounded in the first place and although promising me schooling my uncle could not manage to support me so now I was in a village with no employment or little activities to do to survive.
I had to do something so I asked the school if I could use my football talent in payment for my school fees so I could continue with my education. The school accepted and I was very happy to find myself a solution and help pupils enjoy football. Even better I was chosen as the sports prefect at school till I had my grade Nine exams. It was going well!
I worked hard and passed my exams that allowed me to be accepted to boarding school. This was not possible as finances continued to be a challenge so I missed this opportunity and found a cheaper school to attend and the teachers heard of my football teaching and I was allowed to attend school under the same conditions. After some time, the school decided that I had to pay for school fees or leave school. I stopped school and started working in people’s maize fields planting, weeding and harvesting, after sometime raised some money through the piece works I was doing. Through this I managed to pay for one school term so although I tried so hard I was chased away from school again.
Now that’s the time I just said I will never go back to school and that was in 2009, because I was told to leave school in presence of the cloud and I cried, I cried not just that I felt embarrassed. I felt how hard it is to be an Orphan, more worst without even just a brother or a sister for a shoulder to cry on or even just someone to hug you for comfort …….
This world at times its cold and it really does get cold ……
By the grace of God, just walking going nowhere just to pass time, in 2010, I was at one of the Agriculture research centres in Masumba. While there came this white man from America by the name of Mr. James Willard Colston, he was looking for some seedlings of a certain tree. I happened to be the one who knew where we could find them near and volunteered to help him He asked if I was still in school I explained my situation and he gave me an appointment to go to his place. I visited him and he asked me if I was strong enough to work for him as a garden boy and worked for about three months. I asked him to help me with a loan so that I can go back to school, and he agreed.
Mr Will Colston founder of Kenneth Kaunda Centre for Practical Agriculture KK Centre help Farmers in Mfuwe preserve their land for future generations with sustainable, sound management practices and adapt to climate change. – https://www.facebook.com/Kenneth-Kaunda-Center-for-Practical-Agriculture-509314089170104/
By then now my friends were now in grade Twelve which is the final grade in our secondary level…… the loan I had was just for one year. I was two years behind my friends so I took a risk and went direct into the final year of Grade 12. I decided to go to a Boarding school to allow me to concentrate fully on studies. That’s how I finished my secondary level. By then I had had some saved money from manual work which I decided to use to do my basic computer course.
It was then time to go to Mr.Colston work for the loan I got from him. I was a garden boy and continued there after I paid my loan, also when Mr. Colston has problems with his computers, he could always call me to work out something.
Even then I still wanted to go college so I started looking help from people who could help, one day the Head Teacher of the local Secondary School came to the garden I was working. I welcomed her and her friends, then she asked me on what I was doing and why I was there, she asked me about my background, and at last, before she left, she asked for my contact details…and by then I had an acceptance letter to college, which I gave to her.
Sometime after she organised a meeting with one of her best friends Lisa Gower who ran a sponsorship programme. I had my first meeting with Lisa, we had a chat about my life and Lisa gave me the courage to never give up …… Lisa worked very hard until she found me sponsorship and the second time I met Lisa, she told me ‘Carlos you are going to college!’, she told me who my sponsor was (Dr. Cathy Love May God Bless her), guided me being a good boy, and never misuse the opportunity given.
I chose to study Travel and Tourism Management, I started seeing light through tourism establishments, and because when I stopped school I came up with a community project called Community Talent foundation project….. and I knew that for me to be able to run the project I need to get exposed meet different people who can help fund this project to help other people who are school dropouts for various reasons.
Also looking at the industry itself involves travelling and I like travelling and activities that involves making new friend, learning new things and seeing new places…
College was not all a smooth road. Coming from a village into the City, had challenges, I remember calling Lisa about things like changing my dress code, crossing of roads, and the social life…. And the other thing was that when I started classes I was made to join my seniors, meaning I skipped one class again so again I had to catch up.
I always had an end purpose when I started my course and this made me study very hard. I started up a community project called COMMUNITY TALENT FOUNDATION PROJECT, which is a project that looks at discovering Talents and Skills in for children who had to drop out of school, or people with low or no formal academics background …. Like me, not everyone can attend school properly or sometimes they do not learn as well but that does not mean they are not talented in other ways and these people should not be ignored but taught to use their talents and earn money from them and be empowered. This project is very effective to the community in that it gives a choice for individuals of what they can manage to do.
Community Talent Foundation Project https://www.facebook.com/CTFProject/?fref=ts
So far from the project has made a lot of the people from the community to know and realise that even after failing formal education, they have other opportunities to make it. It has reduced the number people doing the unwanted activities which happens if they have nothing to do. This is an achievement that I am very happy to have started!
After completing college in December this year, I am going to be full time working on how can source the funds for this project, how I can make sustainable. I am planning to build a Community theatre to improve the social activities in the community, unlike the way it is now, where alcohol has become a main social activity which can lead to bad behaviour
I want to show the young generation that they all have skills they can use if they have the support and confidence to build on them.
Back to Lisa
Truly inspiring story about a young man who puts others before himself to make a better community in the future.
If you would like to know more about this project or how to support it please let me know!