THE BLOG
11/13/2012 10:48 am ET | Updated Jan 13, 2013

Education Is the Most Important Asset That a Girl Can Acquire

Nineteen-year-old Kabukabu Nyambe was raised by her mother in Shangombo, an isolated rural region of Zambia. A 17-hour drive from Zambia's capital, Shangombo has poor roads and erratic electricity, and is cut off from news and economic opportunity. Many girls do not have the opportunity to go to school. Without an education, they face a future of early marriage and almost certain rural poverty.

Kabukabu knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher -- but her single mother struggled to pay for her schooling. With the support of the charity Camfed, Kabukabu was able to complete secondary school and pass her final exams. This September, she started a BA in Education at the University of Zambia (UNZA) -- an incredible achievement given the obstacles poverty has put in her way. Today, her dream of becoming a teacher is within reach -- and she plans to continue her studies to become a university lecturer. Here is her story:

"My mother was a subsistence farmer and she supported seven children on her own -- my two siblings and me, and four of her sister's children, who are orphans. She managed to take care of all of us by selling farm products like maize, sweet potatoes, and groundnuts.

My mother reached grade nine. She got pregnant with her first child so she had to stop school. My mother wanted to continue with her education but previously re-entry was not allowed if a girl gets pregnant.

I received the education I wanted because I was adopted by Camfed. I wouldn't have been able to attend secondary school if it was through my mother's sales from her farm produce. Camfed started supporting me from grade eight until I finished grade 12.

Although I had passed through all these challenges, I was always focused and determined with my education. I wanted to achieve the highest level possible, to help my mother take care of other siblings.

I never expected to be accepted at the highest learning institution in the country. I felt happy because I knew I would pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. I told my family about receiving an admission letter and all of them were proud of me. I remember my mother saying: 'Life is a journey, so you should work hard to be what you want to be.'

If I could give advice to other rural girls, I would tell them education is the most important asset that a girl can acquire. I would tell them coming from a rural place does not mean you cannot accomplish your plans.

I want to be a female role model to girls from remotest areas like Shangombo. I plan to study for my degree then for my master's and become a lecturer at UNZA. I am motivated to teach at UNZA because I want to encourage students like me and to tell them that challenges are there to sharpen us, build us and make us strong so as to realise the potential in us."

This blog is part of a series called "Malala's Impact," which highlights the need for global education. The series is launched in partnership with the UN's Global Day of Action for Malalacampaign on November 10.

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