In 2007, Bridget’s parents were involved in a fatal road accident, where her father died on the spot and her mother went missing. To date, no one knows if her mother survived that accident or not. The lives of Bridget and her four siblings changed in a flash; they were now orphans. Since the accident, Bridget has lived with different relatives who have been helping to pay her school fees so that she can further her education. Bridget came to Lusaka from Lundazi District in Eastern Province in 2007 to start school, but due to financial constraints, she had to repeat certain grades twice.
One day on her way back from school, Bridget met Lubuto Library Partners outreach staff talking about a girls’ program called DREAMS happening at the Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library. “I was fascinated by the program and decided to join immediately. Through the DREAMS Mentorship program, I realized that young people don’t know what is happening around them. They just get involved. Now I know how to take care of myself and can even teach my peers,” said Bridget. Since joining the program, Bridget has not missed a single mentoring session.
Before joining the DREAMS program, Bridget didn’t know the importance of setting goals or why young people need to have goals, but after the session on goal setting, she began to live a goal-oriented life. She is confident that she will pass the grade 12 final examination because she set her goals before she wrote the exams. “The goal setting session came at the right time,” Bridget said. “Through the mentoring program, I have been exposed to a variety of careers through the different fieldtrips we have been able to go on. Before joining DREAMS, I wanted to be a nurse because that is the only career I was exposed to and I am passionate about science subjects. My career choice changed during a field trip to the American Corner at National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA). It was my first time to not only touch but operate a computer, and if that is not enough, I met a female computer scientist who inspired me to take up a career in computer science. It was also my first time to be at the NIPA. The DREAMS program has changed my view of life now. I believe whatever my mind can conceive, I can achieve, and I will be a computer scientist.” Bridget has since successfully graduated from the DREAMS Mentoring program, but she still attends mentoring sessions as a peer mentor. In her role as a peer mentor, she encourages other girls to join the mentoring program. With the Lubuto Mthunzi American Youth Library technology hub having been equipped with the latest computers, girls like Bridget have a chance to realize their computer science dreams.