By TROY MUKUPA
A quote by Roy T. Bennett that one should never let hard lessons harden their heart because the hard lessons of life are meant to make people better, and not bitter, is what best describes, Thresa Njavwa Bwalya, an activist, social entrepreneur, holder of Bsc in wood science & technology (Copperbelt University), post-graduate diploma holder in gender statistics from international training program statistics (Sweden), holder of various certificates in climate change, feminist leadership and monitoring & evaluation from reputable institutions.
Born in a shanty compound, precisely, John Howard, where experiencing hardship has forced many young minds lose their brilliance to rampant challenges of drug abuse, criminality, illiteracy, early marriages, and other negative vices, Thresa, who at the age of Seven witnessed the unthinkable when her parents divorced, and against all odds, chose to go the right way and managed to set up Limitless Foundation, with the aim of helping children who live on the streets, shelters, orphanages and other vulnerable areas especially in rural areas as she felt young people deserve an opportunity and support to realize their potential. “I always had the idea of building an orphanage and giving back to the community. Around winter of 2020, my friend, Keshi Mubanga, texted me; “imagine someone your young sister’s age on the streets right now, it’s so cold in our homes how about on the streets?” This struck me deep. I told him let’s organize warm clothes and donate. I also asked a couple of friends. We called the campaign, ‘Jumper Campaign’, under ‘Limitless Charity Organization’. The response was so overwhelming, and that’s how it all started”
Looking back, Thresa, recognises how God prepared her for the difficult but noble task of leading a foundation, an experience of helping others navigate stormy waters, which she says has taught her not only administration and management but also gained important insights about relationships with people and the importance of ‘UBUNTU’. The foundation has so far implemented several successful projects that have benefited more than 500 beneficiaries like the Jumper Campaign which has been implemented for the last 4 consecutive winter seasons since 2020 providing warm clothing and shoes. They have also been very instrumental in advocating against period poverty through their annual end period poverty reduction campaigns. And when asked why the name ‘Limitless’, Thresa responded, “We believe there is no end to the amount of help we can offer each other. What is lacking in one individual/family is present in others hence there is a potential of endless help”
She acknowledges the biggest challenge faced as lack of a proper streaming of income, “We implement our projects using money we fundraise from our social media platforms and the money we contribute as a team. We are currently operating in two provinces, Lusaka and Copperbelt with the focus on children, youth, women living on the streets, shelters, orphanages and other vulnerable areas”
“We have continued to conduct skills development programs which have graduated 250 adolescents in baking, sewing of reusable sanitary pads, web designing, face makeup and doormat sewing skills. And through our social media platforms we have continued to conduct awareness raising on mental health, gender based violence, drug abuse, poverty, climate change negative impacts and period poverty” added Thresa, who is currently enrolled at American University of Beirut pursuing a masters degree in environmental sciences with a major in environmental policy planning.