Meet Alex Bwaluka. He's one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Waislitz Global Citizen Award, which gives a total of $100,000 to three individuals who excel in their work to end extreme poverty. And he needs you to vote to make him one of the three winners! After Global Citizens around the world pick their three favorites, an expert panel of judges will rank them in first, second, and third place. Alex could win up to $50,000 with your help! Vote here .
Name of Applicant: Alex Bwaluka
Organization: Charity Centre for Children and Youth Development
Title / Position: Founder/Executive Director
Issue Area(s): Girls & Women | Health | Education | Finance & Innovation | Food & Hunger
Region of Work: Africa –– Zambia
About Charity Centre for Children and Youth Development
Charity Center for Children and Youth Development is a non-profit, non-political, and non-religious organization that helps orphans and vulnerable children, women, and people with physical challenges improve their standards of living by providing skills, education support, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. We also provide micro-entrepreneurship skills and soft loans.
We envision a society that will work toward eradication of poverty, HIV/AIDS, and illiteracy among orphans and vulnerable children, youth, and women.
The organization’s mission is to promote and enhance the capabilities of children, youth, and women in the North Western Province of Zambia and beyond in order to affect positive social change in the development of their lives, communities, and the nation at large.
Why Alex Should Win This Award
I am Alex Bwaluka, and I’m a Global Citizen. I am the founder and executive director of Charity Centre for Children and Youth Development in Zambia.
After my mother gave birth to me when she was 15-years-old, she dropped out of school. Later, my father abandoned her. I came to know my father when I was 15 years old, but he still refused to be responsible for my education or involved in my life. I had decided that I would support myself and began to attend school at age twelve. To raise the money for my education, I started running a small business selling chicken and goats. I walked eight days from Kasempa, Zambia to Kipushi in Democratic Republic of the Congo to sell either chicken or goat. In spite of the struggle, I was resolute and did not look back until I finished. Now, I will complete my bachelor’s degree in development studies at Zambian Open University in December 2016.
My life history led me to form CCCYD in 2005. I was determined to make things different for women and children who shared challenges similar to my mother and me. Since 2005, our team has worked with hundreds of people, sending orphans and vulnerable children to school, and providing vocational training and microloans to local women.
In our current project, we are helping more than 50 orphan caregivers and youth with business skills and soft loans. We identify the poorest self-employed parents who are unable to earn enough money and live in extreme poverty due to lack of small investment capital or skills. To grow their micro-businesses, we provide these families with hands-on coaching and loans ranging from $50 to $100. We help them increase productivity and earn higher incomes. It all helps to pull children and families out of extreme poverty in a sustainable way.
With the Waislitz Award, I want to continue building self-reliance and resilience in the most vulnerable groups with two key projects over the next two years. I have acquired land from the local authority in Solwezi District of Zambia and intend to construct a vocational skills training center for orphans and vulnerable children. The center will offer carpentry, joinery, bricklaying, IT skills, tailoring, and other skills, and will also provide training to the wider community. Our first priority is to complete the first block, which costs $34,763. We have already started molding the bricks!
Over the next two years, we also want to expand our microenterprise program from 50 beneficiaries to 200 women. The total amount required to reach 200 is $15,237. The interest from loans will enable us to increase the loan portfolio and help us sustain the vocational skills center.
I have changed my life through small business, and I know the potential microentrepreneurship has in changing our world.