Two of the young women training to be coaches in the girls negotiation project had birthdays in the last few days so I thought I would profile them in my blog this week.
On Friday, Nalishebo Mwale turned 23. This makes her about 11 months older than my daughter, Kelsey. Nalishebo grew up in Lusaka South Farms, a suburb on the outskirts of the city.
She told me that she didn’t have many friends in her home area and has always been quiet and shy. One of her goals for herself is to reach out and make an effort to be more outgoing. Now in university, she has more of a social life as well as a boyfriend. During the week, she stays with her cousin who lives closer to campus.
The youngest child in a family of six children, Nalishebo has three brothers and two sisters, the oldest of whom is 37. Her mother is a nurse at a clinic near their home where she lives with Nalishebo’s immediately older sister who, speech impaired, is in college studying catering. Her mother worked full-time while raising her six children while Nalishebo’s father, who was 30 years older than her mother, died when she was 9. Before his death, he was retired and before that was an accountant for the ministry of finance. Nalishebo’s mother was his second wife.
Nalishebo has one semester left before earning her bachelors degree in Development Studies at University of Zambia. She would like to get a Masters in public health, a 2 ½ year degree, and then become a lecturer in public health at the university. She anticipates she will need to work for a few years to earn the money to pay for graduate school and may also need to take out a loan. Recently, there has been an increase in university fees.
Nalishebo has traveled around Zambia and Malawi. She also visited France for three weeks in August 2011 with a trip organized by the United Church of Zambia. She likes to read Danielle Steele novels and loved the Twilight books and movies. She also enjoys watching TV.
Theresa Chileya turned 27 yesterday. She was born in the Copperbelt but her family relocated to Northern province and then finally settled in Lusaka when she was in grade 7. Her father, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, works as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for World Vision, an Evangelical Christian relief organization based in Washington state. Her mother is a businesswoman who deals in second hand clothing.
Theresa is the middle of seven children and has three brothers and three sisters. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Zambia with a double major in Library and Information Studies and Development Studies. While at university, she met her fiancé, Harrison, and Theresa became pregnant. She now has a 6-month-old daughter named Chilombo. Harrison is a teacher in a secondary school and lives in the Northwest province.
Theresa loves to travel in order to see new places and meet new people but especially new places. She enjoys spending time with friends but when she is not socializing, she is an avid homemaker and loves cooking and keeping her home neat and clean.
She hopes to pursue a Masters degree in Gender Studies and would like to start her own non-governmental organization working with vulnerable girls and women as that is her main interest. She told me that GBV (Gender Based Violence) is rampant in Zambia.
There is a billboard across the street from my apartment that indicates Theresa is not the only one concerned about the treatment of women here. Let’s hope that some of the negotiating skills these coaches will introduce to a thousand young teen girls next month will be a step in the right direction.