Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton; these are great people who have dedicated their lives to helping others and to making the world a better place. This may sound cliché I know, especially since I have never met these people and I may never meet them, but I have met a leader that is still finding his footing in the world but has already started changing the lives of many, Bonlat Machiha.
Bonlat is an 18 year old A-level student from Founders High School who served as the Child Governor for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (2011-2012). This young man has defied the hurdles of age and proven to us that the slightest dent makes the biggest transformation and while most youth think that they have to dream big or create a massive social innovation to make a difference, he went the simple route. On the 20th of December this year, he officially opened a piggery project at Thuthuka Children’s Home as a sustainable source of funding for them. He also donated a sizeable amount of groceries to the home as an early Christmas gift to the children, most of whom have been rehabilitated from living in the streets.
From age 17, he started fundraising for the project and managed to secure support from different schools that volunteered to hold a civvies day and channel the funds to his cause. With this initiative he has empowered the children and given them something that they will be able to sustain for a very long time; giving life to the saying “Don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish”. The smiles of the children were priceless, as they jumped around and laughed with excitement, whilst the delegates and young people present expressed sentiments of inspiration, pride and solidarity.
In an interview hosted by ‘The Junior Citizen’ with Bonlat after the event, we asked him what his motivation was, and what words of inspiration he wanted to share with other young people. Regarding his motivation, he said “I was really inspired with the passion I had for making change for children that were living in the streets”, and as a word of encouragement to young people, he said, “age is not a barrier, you can do it. It only takes your passion, it only takes your concentration and also… seeking assistance and support from the other relevant people that have the same goal, to achieve a goal; and with that you will never go wrong”.
As much as people may say that this was a drop in the ocean, it is that drop that makes it an ocean! I would like to thank Bonlat for having fewer rhetorical questions and arguments and letting his actions speak for him. We should all take notes and instead of looking to make other nations lands of honey and milk we should all start at home and make our back yards our gold-mines!!!!!!!
By Cynthia Victor