Happy Dede Phiri offers a big “Uwakwensha Ubushiku, Ukumutashe Nga Bwacha”

Happy in the library of the Amos Youth Centre. Happy Dede Phiri's dreams of graduating from college seemed to be slipping away five years ago.

He had graduated high school and had even been accepted at college, a special achievement in Zambia and one not easily accomplished.  Still, Happy had every reason to feel discouraged. His father had died two years earlier, and his mother had no way to help him fund college even though he had qualified.

While his mother couldn't offer financial support, she heard about another option.

“One day my mom brought me some news, which I didn’t take very serious because at that stage I had lost hope,” Happy said. “She told me she had met a friend who told her about a youth center which was involved in helping orphans and youths like me to achieve their dreams of higher education, and it was just 100 meters away from home.”

Of course, Happy was referring to the African Education Program (AEP) and Amos Youth Centre (AYC), where he walked the next day.  There he met AYC Director Agnes Banda and AEP Co-founder Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza. Suddenly, his life had taken a much more positive direction, and Happy embraced the opportunity.

Happy began teaching the younger students at AYC, and he earned a college scholarship through AEP, funded by his sponsor Mrs. C.

Happy (on the right) is with two of his peers, Faith (middle) and Obby (left), who also obtained college degrees thanks to AEP sponsorship.

“That’s how God answered my prayer to go to college through Amos Youth Centre, with help from a woman I respect so much though I have never met, Mrs. C,” Happy said. “The purpose of all this is to simply express gratitude to African Education Program, Mrs. C and the hard working and dedicated staff at Amos Youth Centre in Kafue.”

Happy realized his dream of graduating from college last year, and recently accepted a job as a human resources officer at a company involved in the manufacturing and installation of building materials. His accomplishments are an inspiration to other students who have faced similarly huge obstacles.

“I want to encourage those people who are like I was five years ago,” he said. “My encouragement is that nothing is impossible.  You just need to stay focused and work hard. I will use my favorite proverb in Bemba, which goes like “UWAKWENSHA UBUSHIKU, UKUMUTASHE NGA BWACHA,” which literally translates to “who drives you in the night, remember to thank them in the morning.” This means that you should remember to say thank you to people who help you to achieve your goals.”

That also means one final thank you to AEP, AYC, and Mrs. C.

Happy (on the right) writes a letter to his sponsor, Mrs. C.

“Thank you African Education Program, Amos Youth Centre––you will always be part of my DNA as long as I live and may God continue blessing all the people who sacrifice their time and financial resources to assist vulnerable people in Africa to realize their dream of being educated. My prayer is that God should continue blessing me so that I can also give back in my own way.”