The Mwansa Bwale Foundation is a non-profit organisation that specifically deals with the plight of children with special needs as well as those from vulnerable homes. It seeks to encourage communities to embrace special needs children and highlight the struggles faced by their parents .
The foundation has since adopted a school in Lusaka’s Linda township called Benevolence Special Needs School.
“I have always been passionate about children, especially those with special needs or those less fortunate than I am. I live around that area and I noticed that the school was almost abandoned, yet there are a lot of children with special needs who do not access education for various reasons,” said Mwansa Bwale
Mwansa Bwale is a 28 year old Zambian Humanitarian and Entrepreneur, Founder and Chairperson of two Non-Governmental Organizations; ‘Mwansa Bwale Foundation for Children with Disabilities’ and ‘Single Mums Club Zambia’.
She Holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Zambia and is passionate about empowering the girl child.
She is a soon to be published author and has a Facebook page called “Mwansa Bwale ” with a growing following of over 27000 followers where she shares motivational posts about relationships, careers, fashion and her main passion; community service. She uses her real life experiences to encourage women to “get back up and conquer”
We caught up with her for an interview ;
KAPA187: Briefly tell us about yourself.
MWANSA BWALE: I’m a philanthropist and a humanitarian. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Zambia, an advanced diploma in Human Rights, a diploma in law and a certificate in Human Rights!
I’m founder of two NGOs namely the “Mwansa Bwale Foundation for Children with Disabilities” and “Single Mums Club Zambia“. Above everything else, I’m a mother to a lovely boy CJ. I’m passionate about women and youth empowerment. I’m passionate about children with special needs hence the vision behind the Mwansa Bwale Foundation. I’m also an entrepreneur, speaker and writer.
KAPA187: What made you decide to set up the Mwansa Bwale Foundation for Children With Disabilities?
MWANSA BWALE: I’m passionate about children with disabilities because I feel they are a very vulnerable group in our society who do not get equal opportunities as able-bodied children do. I also feel that there are not adequate rights that support persons with disabilities so hence my passion to start this organization.
KAPA187: What exactly are the objectives of the foundation?
MWANSA BWALE: The objectives of the foundation are to provide basic health care and basic education to children with disabilities. To cater to their needs whilst we educate them. To make them feel loved and cared for and to make a huge positive impact in their and their families’ lives. And above all, to ensure that they get equal opportunities in all sectors of life regardless of their disabilities.
KAPA187: From the time you started your foundation, what have you learnt about the way society in general regards children with disabilities.
MWANSA BWALE: I have learnt that one of the important things about EDUCATION is to broaden your mind. Most societies in rural areas have misconceptions regarding disabilities and this is mainly because of being uneducated. There is a lot of stigma and discrimination towards persons with disabilities especially among uneducated individuals.
KAPA187: Working with children who have special needs can sometimes be physically and emotionally draining, What keeps you going?
MWANSA BWALE: . I believe when you have the passion for it, you won’t see any challenge as draining but exciting to achieve and conquer it. So since I do my work out of passion and interest, I do not see it draining at all. I love the activities that I do with the kids no matter how tiring because the bigger picture is what matters to me… When I succeed in my plight to achieve my goals for them, I work even harder and enjoy it while I’m at it.
KAPA187: As a foundation you adopted the Benevolence special needs school. In what way do you support them?
MWANSA BWALE: We help them in paying the teacher’s salary, providing them with stationary, and we are currently working on a school uniform for them as well renovating the school when we get funding.
KAPA187: Last December you hosted a Christmas party for kids in Linda Compound, tell us about that event.
MWANSA BWALE: We hosted a Christmas party for the kids in Linda Compound which was a huge success. It was such a rainy day but that did not stop us. We organized the Christmas party very well and had support from our foundation members who donated clothes and even money. We had individuals contribute different amounts and clothes too… We had the Radisson Blu Hotel team join our Christmas party and donate juice and dessert to our kids. We also had the St Paul Praise Team of Kabwata, “Showers Of Blessings” donate lots of stationary consisting of pencils, books, sharpeners, erasers, even snacks, as well as clothes to our children”. The Christmas party attracted quiet a huge crowd from within the entire community of Linda Compound. We had over 200 children show up, about 80 of which have disabilities.
KAPA187: How is your foundation funded, and how do you ensure that the money goes to its intended purpose?
MWANSA BWALE: We are currently not funded. Our foundation members each donate an amount every month which goes to our cause. We also hold fundraising activities as a foundation such as car washing which enables us to raise money to provide for our kids at our adopted school. We have a board which ensures all financial transparency and a record of all funds and projects achieved which we review every month.
KAPA187: Apart from your foundation you also run ‘Single Moms Club’, What is it about and why did you decide to start it?
MWANSA BWALE: I started it after my own experience as a single mother. Raising a child single-handedly has a lot of challenges which I noticed that a lot of women in our country actually experience. When I launched it to the public, the response was overwhelming. Many single mothers joined our club and it has since then been successful. It’s an empowerment forum for single mothers. We mentor mothers in various ways of how they can sustain an income, we help struggling mothers by paying for their children’s school fees and basic needs in their homes as well as mentoring high school students about the importance of an education so as to be able to be independent before becoming parents.
KAPA187: You are also an entrepreneur, motivator, and a mother. How do you keep your life balanced and prevent getting overwhelmed?
MWANSA BWALE: LOL, I’m a very proud mother to a lovely boy named CJ. He is my world. I feel blessed that God saw me fit enough to be the vessel that carried and birthed such a start, so it’s such divine favour to be his mother. I enjoy raising him so it’s not at all overwhelming as such. Well perhaps because I have an amazing family who supports me in everything that I do. I have amazing siblings (2 younger sisters and 1 big brother) and I have both my mother and father. They all support me in raising and parenting CJ. Being an entrepreneur is a childhood passion. I see myself on that Forbes list sooner than later, LOL. And ultimately when it all feels rather challenging, I surrender it all to the Lord. I pray a lot. I love God above everything else and only through him can you succeed and keep sane, LOL. God cannot take me where he surely will not see me through 🙂
KAPA187: You seem to have a lot on your plate. What do you do to relax and have fun?
MWANSA BWALE: I spend a lot of quality time with my son and my family. I love spending time with them actually because it is so refreshing and soul soothing. I also spend time with my friends and do dinners and movies. I also love travelling a lot. And because I have a deep passion for writing, I spend relaxing time just writing and pouring out my soul on paper. It’s quiet refreshing for me.
KAPA187: What word of advice do you have for the youth who may think they are too young to make a difference in this country?
MWANSA BWALE: God does not call the qualified, he QUALIFIES the called! You are never too young to make a difference. The future is not tomorrow but NOW! Young people have fresh minds with such brilliant ideas made to be generators of hope for this and the next generation. Bring out those ideas and birth the dreams. Act now and never feel inadequate no matter who you are or where you come from. Always remember that the future is in the hands of us the Youth and you can only make a difference when you start. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So take that step, take a leap of faith, and watch what the Lord has in store for you.
KAPA187: Is there anything you would like to add?
MWANSA BWALE: I’m praying to be a Mandela Washington Fellow for 2016.I was shortlisted this month and went for interviews at our respective US Embassy. For me that was a huge milestone and success on its own, but it will be more complete if I make it as a fellow for it will give me a huge platform and network to internationally put all our works on the international map as well as network internationally so as to come and implement in our country. So I’m appealing to my fellow Zambians to put me in their prayers as I wait for the results next month… Also like my page on Facebook, “MWANSA BWALE” to follow all my works. Thank you.
Interact with Mwansa Bwale on her official Facebook page :” Mwansa Bwale ”