The youth of Zambia are the nation's future and represent the hope of a brighter day. The vision of the Kucetekela Foundation is to provide educational opportunities to Zambian youths in order to brighten the Zambian nation's future. "Kucetekela" means "hope" in the Bemba language, one of the major languages in Zambia.
Youth in Zambia face many challenges. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is ravaging the population, with approximately 20% of the population infected with HIV, making Zambia the 5th highest prevalence in the world. The virus has destroyed the lives of friends, siblings, and parents. Family incomes have been eliminated, and orphans are left to head households, feed younger siblings, and take care of sick or dying parents. The consequences of HIV/AIDS are compounded by the devastatingly widespread poverty in Zambia. 85% of all Zambians live at an income level below the poverty line.
The youth of Zambia have an enormous burden, but their smiling faces, energetic dances, and passionate songs provide hope and optimism for the future. 50% of the Zambian population is under 16 years of age. Therefore, if this glimmer of hope is not cultivated, the future of Zambia will be bleak.
Of all of the challenges facing young Zambians, education may be the greatest. The Zambian government provides a primary education for all Zambians at minimal fees. However, these government schools are overcrowded and the amount of schooling that each child receives daily can be alarmingly small. Additionally, the small fees can actually be too much for orphans and other vulnerable children to pay. Many youths turn to community-run schools, where the fees are less, not enforced, or non-existent. These community schools suffer the same problem of overcrowding, and the quality of teaching can be low due to volunteer teachers with little experience.
Secondary education is a hurdle that many Zambians can't even attempt because of financial limitations. The Kucetekela Foundation has recognized the potential in the young Zambian population and provides promising young Zambians the opportunity of a high-quality secondary education. Education is the key to empower Zambia's future leaders.