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Enlightening the young generation
– by Frank Masanta Jr.
Frank Masanta founded the Sun-spring Charity School in the Ng’ombe Township in Lusaka.
I was born in Ndola in 1981, and my parents had 12 children. I grew up in Lusaka, but my father got a divorce when I was still a baby. He raised me, but hardly took care of me and did not invest in my education. I did not do well in school and left school with a General Grade 12 Certificate. My father is a car mechanic, but I was never interested in that line of work even though he often fixed cars at home and I would help. I left home after completing grade 12 because I wanted to be independent. I married in 2002.
I had the idea to start a school when, due to financial hardship, I could not send my own kids to school. Moreover, I wanted to help other kids who shared my kids’ fate (also note my contribution in the Focus section of D+C/E+Z e-Paper 2019/08). I decided to start a school in which my wife and I teach ourselves. We charge a small tuition fee to pay the rent and procure books, furniture and all sorts of supplies. The teachers are volunteers with stipends which cover daily expenses but do not add up to a full income. In the long run, we plan to hire fully trained teachers who will take the project forward. Hopefully, private-sector businesses will support us.
I chose the location Ng’ombe because we used to live there and because I found an appropriate building. This neighbourhood is densely populated and poor. Small ideas can make a big difference here. There are two government-run schools in Ng’ombe, and though they don’t charge tuition fees, poor families cannot afford to send their children there because books and school uniforms cost too much.
After a while, I understood that one needs to be an entrepreneur to run a school. Unfortunately, the Sun-spring Charity School does not provide us with a livelihood. We are struggling merely to cover the costs. I generate my own income with a small business called Think Global Services. We print visiting cards, for example, and provide other services. I keep trying to raise more funds for the Sun-spring Charity School.
I have organised marches in Zambia, walking more than 1,000 kilometres in order to raise funds and awareness. We promote the right to education and sustainable development. During and after those walks, I met with business leaders and government ministers, insisting that more investment in education and more partnerships for education are necessary.
Moreover, I am involved in several projects that are designed to boost young people’s prospects through entrepreneurship. I am currently organising another 915 kilometre march. “The SDG&Climate Action Walk” will take place in March this year. The idea is to make people aware of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, I hope to raise money for building another school as well as planting 1 million trees up to 2030 to mitigate climate change.
I am simply a humanitarian, a Christian, and what I do is out of love. I believe what Muhamad Ali said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” I believe in education because it is the light one needs to make sense of the world.
I hope to be a successful entrepreneur and an active global citizen. I strive to raise funds in order to build partnerships for education. My ambition is to build more schools, especially for children in neglected rural areas. I also want to contribute to protecting the environment. Humanity is facing unprecedented challenges, and we must rise to them together.
Frank Masanta Jr. is an education activist in Zambia. More than 100 girls and boys attend pre-school and primary-school classes at his Sun-spring Charity School in the Lusaka agglomeration.