September 12, 2012

The Spirit of Volunteerism in Zambia


Mark Chilongu, International Visitor Leadership Program Alumnus

Young people are a dynamic section of society, a dynamic section of society because they have the potential to change the world if they are engaged in a positive way. We started as young people in the slum that is where there were a lot of negative vices going around our peers and all that. And we realized as young people that there was need for us to contribute to the social well-being of the young people. Our dream was to have the cultural center, but with time we realized that the needs of the young people were much more than just the artistic part of it. So, we started up a youth center, which is Africa Directions Youth Center.

This is where we do our HIV/AIDS testing. So this our very small resource center, very small. This is the only place where young people would come and study because in this community, you will see that most young people do not have access to a place where they can study from.

Theater in Africa has, is one of the powerful tools to disseminate information and to try and change the mindsets of the people. People in Africa listen more to oral kind of approach.

[singing]“Don’t sit back and wait for tomorrow, the future holds…”

So I was nominated in 2010 for the IVLP program, International Visitor Leadership Program. One of the things that catch me the most was the way the American people provide for the poor. You know, I went to a place called Food and Friends, where people would spend their time to pack free food for the vulnerable communities. And for me, that’s the spirit that I came back with – trying to instill a sense of responsibility among the young people, trying to instill a sense of volunteerism among the people in our community, but in Zambia as a whole.