02 Jan Hogwarts Had Nothing to Do with Alice’s Magic
Education as a tool to effect change is a universally viable one. This statement speaks volumes as it is unique to Education, and a few individuals stand-out as “heroes”, having recognized Education for what it truly is. Alice Saisha is a hero of such stature, she’s a mentor, teacher, and friend to all those who learn.
In rural Zambia, Alice says that her education cost her family everything they had at the time. At the young age of 13, she found herself working as a housemaid to pay for her education, however, that wasn’t enough. She had to drop out at the age of 14 and to her fortune, the committee for the school she attended noted her absence and nominated her for a CAMFED scholarship that she successfully qualified.
It would seem that all the stars aligned for Alice, as her life has since been a series of events in an uptrend. The scholarship allowed her to complete school and join the alumnae network of young women leaders – through which she became a graduate in financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
Education, as referred above, is a tool in its simplest form, and like many before her, she is using it best she can. It allowed her to pursue higher education and set up her first business. With Education in the forefront, Alice started up a poultry business with the intent to use its gains to fund her university education. She went on to secure a degree in Human Resource Management and Sociology, all because of her passion to learn.
Having secured multiple degrees, Alice felt her calling toward the community. She reflects on her own childhood and realized that someone did something for her that led her to this point in her life. Alice is now Zambia’s District Operations secretariat for CAMFED. A position that enables her to mentor and influence those that feel as helpless as she did. Through CAMFED, Alice is actively involved in the campaign to End Child Marriage in Zambia, and to share her drive, UN Women GoodWill Ambassador – Emma Watson and writer Gloria Steinem have both pledged their support.
I first met Alice in Zambia in 2012 & we celebrated #IWD2017 together. She’s an amazing activist who was once at risk of becoming a child bride, now leading #GirlGuardians for @Camfed. The UK Gov’t are DOUBLING donations to #EndChildMarriage https://t.co/ulsQVrZPmc #GivingTuesday pic.twitter.com/U8Ixx7UQ7c
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) November 28, 2017
Renowned journalist and feminist Gloria Steinem was so inspired by Alice’s story that she arranged for a special interview in New York with Alice after her appearance at the MUSE Women’s Conference in Oregon in 2017 – further spreading Alice’s message of Education.
On #IWD2017 @GloriaSteinem & @EmmaWatson stood with #GirlGuardian Alice & our 100,000-strong #CAMA alumnae network of young women leading a movement of unstoppable change across Africa: https://t.co/GkSMVItERf #2017Highlights #YearInReview pic.twitter.com/Gjh4z2xsBT
— CAMFED – Campaign for Female Education (@Camfed) January 10, 2018
Alice feels that Education has not only enabled the humanitarian in her but actively ensures she can be inspirational. She frequently offers her help as a mentor to the schools in her district, conducts debates on issues of social relevance and hosts group counseling sessions.
“It has been a great transformation; I never thought that people would at some stage look up to me for guidance and as a leader. My journey has helped me address challenges such as poverty. My struggles have taught me to become a team player. I have come full circle from a shy girl to a more confident and focused lady.” — Alice Saisha
Besides all of what she already does, she also uses the funds from her poultry business to ensure education reaches those that can’t afford it. She then went on to foster 11 children, ensuring they had a safe and nurturing environment to thrive in.
Alice is the personification of ‘humane’ and a natural born leader. They say the best leaders lead by example and Alice is surely setting the best one. She has gone the distance and proved that Education can be the best tool of change if you are motivated enough.