As a young, high school graduate in her home country of Zimbabwe, Chido Shamuyarira volunteered in a child care center located in an impoverished area in the city of Mbare. Seeing how vulnerable the children and their families were, Ms. Shamuyarira joined forces with three other young women to start a nonprofit organization called Vision 21 Zimbabwe. This organization works to eliminate poverty through education and empowerment. They have raised money to place computers in local libraries, provided social and educational resources for area youth, and sponsored panel discussions for students at risk of dropping out of school. Now a sophomore at Cottey College, Ms. Shamuyarira is active in community service through the interfaith and diversity program on campus. She developed an interfaith clothing closet to help low-income students and/or students from warmer climates with winter clothing and accessories. Additionally, she provides weekly cultural programs to children in a rural, behavioral health hospital. Ms. Shamuyarira continues her passion for helping at-risk children through STOMP (Students That Open Minds to Possibilities), a sustainable after-school, service-learning project, sponsored by the Psychology Department in partnership with the local housing authority.
As a Grace Scholarship recipient through the US Achiever's Program, I received support in the realization of my dream to study in the United States. Privileged to have this opportunity, I seek to help other young people realize their educational dreams. After volunteering with the Chiedza Child Care Center in Mbare, Zimbabwe, I became interested in the advancement of education in areas of high poverty. This prompted an alliance with three other women to create a nonprofit organization called Vision 21 Zimbabwe. This organization tackles poverty by empowering vulnerable youth through education, information, resources and referrals. During my two years at Cottey College, my mindset about advocacy and social justice has been strengthened. Through my work with an after-school program called STOMP (Students That Open Minds to Possibilities), a program which empowers at-risk, school-aged children to overcome barriers, I am encouraged to provide further leadership to youth in my country. Additionally, my passion for service is broadened through the interfaith and diversity programs on campus. Participating in conferences, such as the Midwest Model UN, the Baobab Diversity Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative Conference and Global Entrepreneurship Week, has strengthened my resolve to make a difference through service to others.