On a fateful day in March of 2017, I received my first email from Hope Zimba. It was for a job application for an Assistant to the Country Director, and we interviewed her a few weeks later. She was by far our best candidate, we hired her, and in May of 2017, I met her for lunch at Pangani. I still remember Hope from that lunch – a bit shy, but friendly, nervous, and excited about her new job with Impact Network.
Hope has always been incredibly hard-working, and she proved herself to be so much more than an assistant. During that first year, she traveled numerous times to every single one of our 35 expansion schools, facilitating maintenance and construction works. More importantly, she conducted community meetings with each school, getting to know them and their needs, and discussing how we could best partner with them. In those first few months, I remember being so impressed with her work ethic, her problem-solving skills, and her overall attitude as we embarked on this journey. There was no obstacle too big, and no community too far. In truth, we would not be where we are today, without Hope.
After the Expansion was in a good place, Hope transitioned to being an Education Programme Officer, helping to support our Teacher Supervisors and teachers with coaching, training and support. She continually showed herself to be a thoughtful, energetic, and incredibly dedicated staff member. As she trained and coached others, as she continued to troubleshoot issues at the schools, meet with Chiefs and communities, and serve on our Child Protection Committee. It has become so clear to me that Hope has so much potential!
And so, today, I am so so thrilled to let you know that Hope was accepted to McGill University, in Canada, to study a Masters in Education Psychology. McGill is one of the best schools in Canada, and the program is highly competitive. Only the best of the best get in, and so it surprises me not one bit that Hope will start there this September.
Hope shared with us her hopes and goals for Impact Network students last summer with this:
“Some of my hopes for the students that are in Impact network schools is that they get to benefit from the education that we are providing now. They get to understand the importance of education from this inception so that even as they grow old, it doesn’t end at them reaching grade seven and they stop. But they proceed to secondary school, university, and become better people in society.”
Hope, truly, is living her hopes and dreams for our own 6,000 students. Hope – we adore you, we respect you, and we know that you are going places. Congratulations – you deserve it!