Danny, an 18-year-old boy from the Mumbwa’s Kalundu community in Zambia, is the oldest child in a family of four. In 2007, Danny’s mother died of cancer and a year after, his father abandoned his family. From that point on, Danny became the guardian of his younger siblings.
But in spite of life’s challenges, Danny has remained a strong and focused youth.
“I consider the death of my mother as one more challenge that required to be handled with a lot of skills,” says a soft-spoken Danny, adding that he has not allowed life’s problems to pull him down.
Danny’s leadership qualities were identified right from the start of primary school, where he served as a class monitor. When he qualified to enter Mulimba Basic School, his leadership capabilities were again put to the test when he was elected Vice Head Boy of his school, a position he still holds in grade nine.
Danny likes playing football and is a fan of Lehman, the former Arsenal goalkeeper whose name he has printed on his replica jersey.
In addition to being a capable leader, Danny is distinguishing himself as an accomplished entrepreneur.
“Even at my age, I don’t believe in always getting handouts,” he said, “I want to become self-reliant person before I reach 30.”
Danny’s exceptional leadership skills made it easy for others to elect him as Youth Chairperson for the Mumbwa Child Development Agency (MCDA), despite being the youngest youth representative.
“It’s not about age, but what you are able to do for the people that entrusted the leadership in you,” Danny said, when asked on how he copes on the MCDA Board, given that three quarters of the members are older than him.
As a volunteer member of the board, Danny has been exposed to capacity-building activities, which have boosted his leadership skills and self-confidence. Danny joined the board when he was only 16. For his service, he receives a transport refund.
Unlike other children of his age who might tend to spend the small stipend on personal items, Danny has used the transport refund to start a goat-restocking venture to generate income.
“I used my first meager refund in 2006 to buy school requirements and later in the same year, I saved some money from other refunds to buy two female goats,” he said. “This worked well since the MCDA was also starting the goat-restocking program in my area.”
Danny reports that he has learned much from the program’s extension services, and today he is the proud owner of 14 female goats.
With the income Danny raised from his goat-restocking venture, he managed to send his mother to specialist treatment center while she had cancer.
His future plans are to complete school, study law and become a judge. Danny’s strong belief in justice for all is one of the reasons why he has chosen law for a future career.
With this kind of early determination and attitude toward life, Danny is well on his way to becoming a change leader in his community.