26 January 2021 “gold-youth: My Atom of Change”

SOLOMON MWANZA – Chingola, Zambia

They say ‘not all days are Sundays’. Well, I never understood what that meant until I joined gold Youth development agency, an organization that made see the bigger picture of my life.

My name is Solomon Mwanza, I am 19 years old and I am a pupil at Chikola Secondary School doing my Grade 11. In 2017 when I was in Grade 7, I had challenges with sponsorship. It was at this point in time I decided to start sponsoring myself.

Desperate to raise school fees, I started involving myself in bad vices such as illegal mining, stealing network provider copper cables, electricity supply cables and keeping bad company and the like. I continued with this habit even in my secondary year. It became worse because I even started abusing drugs and it was the order of the day for me. Due to my notorious behavior, I was once accused of selling drugs to my fellow pupils at school.

In February 2019, I lost my mother, this made me lose hope and focus in life; I couldn’t cope without her as she was the only one that I looked up to in my day-to-day life.

In the same year, 2019, I heard about gold Youth Development Agency and that’s how I decided to join the programme. I could attend the skills training sessions, group mentoring sessions, and academic support which were led by the gold Facilitator Interns, Ms Doris and Mr Mwelwa.

However, through attending only for “formality’s sake” my life began to change, through topics delivered such as ‘Self-esteem’, ‘big YES and Big NO’, ‘Substance abuse and how to avoid it’ etc.

I slowly began to reflect on my life, what I have done, what I have gone through, the bad things I did that could have completely ruined my life.  I was so touched and decided to pick up my pieces and rebuild my life in a positive way, and this was the beginning of my change.

The programme has really impacted my life. I no longer abuse drugs, neither do I steal nor do illegal mining. I have improved my school attendance and my academic performance has really improved and I have found sponsorship to continue with school.

I look forward to maintaining the new me that I am now and also to help my peers who are indulging into bad vices to also become better and see the bigger picture of life.