Zambian young leader from Chibolya gets to meet Queen Elizabeth in London

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Artistic Director and Co-founder of Circus Zambia, Gift Chansa, grew up in Chibolya, well known as the most notorious slum in Lusaka. While young, Gift experienced some of the hardships of growing up in Chibolya. But mostly he was affected by the level of prejudice he encountered when sharing where his home is. People would be scared of him and worse. This motivated him to bring change to Chibolya and to the way the compound is perceived. Together with Amos Malokwa, Charlotte Groen and Benard Kaumba he found Circus Zambia in 2016. Circus Zambia is Zambia’s first and only social circus that works with young people from vulnerable backgrounds. Now his efforts have led to recognition as far the UK, where the Queen herself will award him for his work.  Gift will leave the country on June 15, 2018 to receive the award.

Back in 2015 Gift, Amos and Benard found themselves in China, under a scholarship of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, attending a circus school in Wuqiao. They felt this was what young people needed, a place to train, develop your body and social skills while having access to education and employment. Back in Zambia they teamed up with Charlotte, a development worker from the Netherlands and together they started Zambia’s first circus.

Now the NGO has its own premises in Kabulonga complete with media lab, library, classroom, training room, kitchen, offices and –not to forget- a 250 seat theatre which is in the last stages of completion. Each week around 100 youth from Chibolya and other compounds come to train, receive tutoring during school holidays and learn about important life skills, such as HIV prevention, sanitation practices and much more. Circus Zambia also provides scholarships and employment opportunities in the circus as a performer or workshop leader.

In its short life span the organization has received some international attention. The circus company performed in the USA, Japan and Ethiopia and received funding from MTV and Burning Man (from the famous Burning Man Festival and Africa Burn in SA). Its work has been covered by CNN, BBC and other media. Now the Queen of England has also noticed the work of this Zambian Youth Organisation.

The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.

Gift himself is calm under all the praise: ‘’I just wanted to start a place where people can develop their creativity’, he says.

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3 Responses to Zambian young leader from Chibolya gets to meet Queen Elizabeth in London

  1. This is great and encaraging am proud of them and i wish zambians all the best

    CHINGSON
    June 1, 2018 at 5:47 pm
    Reply

    • WAENDA KUCHINDA BA QUEEN MAPOLOYAKO

      MAPOLO
      June 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm
      Reply

  2. WAENDA KUCHINDA BA QUEEN MAPOLOYAKO

    MAVUZI
    June 3, 2018 at 2:51 pm
    Reply

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