I recently read an article about Musimbi Kanyoro, the President and CEO of Global Fund for Women, a non-profit that advances women’s rights around the globe. Ms. Kanyoro grew up in rural Kenya, raised by strong female role models – her mother, and older sisters. Her parents sent her and her sisters to an all-girls boarding school, determined to give their child a good education, and organizing the community to protect girls from harm. She eventually went on to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and a PhD from the University of Texas, and become a global advocate for women’s rights.
“Bloom where you are planted…When you to rural schools where you can’t think that it’s possible for people to get to Harvard, well I did get to Harvard for part of my work. I just went to a normal rural primary school. I ran three miles to get there every morning in my uniform, did very well, passed secondary school, and went into a boarding school. Then I went on to a university back home and did very well and was able to go to graduate school. There I was able to do a masters and a Ph.D. Then I went back home to work for nearly 7 years, when I was interviewed for an international job in Geneva. There is really nothing ‘special’ in my journey, but opportunities come your way when we have an education… I look back and say there was nothing special about me – I never want to forget that there are people still struggling and that I’m still standing.”
Bloom where you are planted. Thrive where you are. Our scholars, who are given access to a quality education, can be the next Musimbi Kanyoro. They can do well, just as she did, go on to secondary school, and postsecondary school, and affect the lives of the next generation of children. Indeed, if we want Zambia to prosper, it is going to be our students who shape the future and create opportunities for themselves and others. But it starts in their homes, in their villages, it starts where they are planted.