IMAGINING THE FUTURE
ELLIOT LAZA’S STORY
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is a very determined
At 17 years old, he is striving to
finish school and also working to
help support his large family.
He is currently in the 11th grade at
Choma Secondary School located in
the Southern Province of Zambia.
Elliot’s father died when he was a baby.
He joined the ranks of the 1,400,000 orphans
in Zambia, and because he is one of eight children,
Elliot’s mother was left with a heavy load to bear.
Elliot’s day starts at 5:20 a.m., before the sun is even up.
His daily routine consists of eating breakfast, showering
and getting dressed in his school uniform.
After that, he sets off and begins his three mile walk to school just as the sun starts to rise. Most mornings, the walk takes him about 45 minutes. Sometimes he gets lucky and manages to catch a ride on the back of his neighbor’s bike. But most days, he’s walking.
Elliot’s house is in the upper right.
Elliot’s school is in the bottom left.
He usually arrives at school around 6:30 a.m.
School devotions start at 6:45 a.m. and then
his first class starts promptly at 7:00 a.m.
Elliot says he likes school because,“It gives me a bright future;
A good future.”
His favorite subject is English,
but he also likes math.
He does not like history.
Elliot understands the hardships of a life
without an education. His mother Ana,
a recent graduate of our sewing program,
was only able to attend school to the 4th grade.
You can read Ana’s story here.
“If I weren’t going to school,
life would be hard.
In these days and even
in the future days.”
His classes for the day are over at 1:30 p.m.,
but most students stay at school to study until
about 4:30 p.m. At this time, he begins to
make the three mile, 45 minute journey
back to his house to eat a quick meal,
only to then head back out the door.
This time he’s headed
to his roadside stand
to work for a few hours.
Every afternoon, he sits
and attempts to sell
tomatoes & other vegetables
to help his mother support
During this time,
Elliot often dreams
about his future.
“In my future, if I imagine it,
I am married. I have kids,
maybe two or three. I have a
house and a car. I will be
working maybe as a teacher.
I would like to teach
Mathematics. In my future, I
will be able to help my mom,
because she has already
helped me so much and
because I love her.”
Elliot is on the path to making
his imagined future become a reality.
We believe in his future and are committed to
supporting him on his journey.
We believe that when a child enters a classroom,
they are free to imagine and equipped to chase their dreams.
We know that education transforms lives
and breaks the cycle of poverty that traps so many children.
Elliot’s days are long and exhausting, but his story isn’t that unique. Hundreds of thousands of children are fighting just as hard for a chance at their imagined futures.
Modest statistics estimate that there are over 121 million children currently not in school and that 45% of ALL out-of-school children will NEVER set foot in a classroom.
WE BELIEVE WE CAN CHANGE THAT.
ONE CHILD AT A TIME.