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Zambia, Africa

Academic achiever

After school program inspires top grades

ARISE offers after school activities to primary-school students at Zambia’s Mangango School to provide them with an alternative to working outside school hours or absconding from school to take part in traditional dances and initiation ceremonies.

Makinishi Mponela, 13, lives in Mangango, Zambia, a community supported by ARISE. He and his three siblings live with their mother Maurine Mponela, who has struggled to raise them on her own since her husband left them in 2002. To earn a living, she sells scones at the local market. Her children used to help her after school.

Since ARISE commenced its after school program (ASP) and awareness raising activities in Mangango, the lives of the Mponela Family have changed.

The children no longer work at the market but instead stay at school where they are able to play games such as chess, monopoly, drafts, morabaraba, scrabble, football, volleyball, and netball. Makinishi chooses to play chess and reads. He says that very few boys used to attend the school, however when football was introduced as an ASP activity, school attendance levels rose. ARISE also offers mentoring activities and provides the school with new learning materials including textbooks, global maps and dictionaries.

Makinishi’s grades have improved dramatically, so much so that he assumed the top position in Mangango Zone. His academic performance, talent in debate, and insight and knowledge of child labor issues resulted in him being chosen by ARISE as a Child Labor Ambassador at our stakeholders’ meeting at the Protea Hotel Arcades in Lusaka on 27 August 2015. At the meeting Makinishi told participants, ‘Some of us children in Mangango look far smaller in stature than our age. I am 12 yet I look like an 8-year-old boy. This is due to the heavy loads our parents and guardians used to ask us to bear’. He urged ARISE to continue its efforts educating the community, especially parents. He told the audience that supervised playtime helps prevent child labor.

Makinshi also became a member of his community’s Child Labor Committee. He says, ‘When we hear of child labor, we go to the villages and explain the effects’. He believes that acceptance of child labor is passed down from generation to generation, and he is a strong advocate of educating parents saying, ‘It is important that parents understand about the harm child labor can cause their children and the opportunities education can create.’

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ARISE aims to end child labor in communities where JTI sources tobacco leaf. We work with those directly affected and with others who have the power to change things. Our initiatives are developed and delivered in collaboration with tobacco-growing communities, social partners and governments.