“For me, African Vision of Hope is my home, my life, my work, my parents and my story.”-Fizwell
Meet 28-year-old Fizwell, an African Vision of Hope graduate and Child Protection Officer at African Vision of Hope School in Chongwe. Although that is his official job title, Fizwell wears many other hats; teacher, father, protector, and friend. As a Child Protection Officer, it is Fizwell’s job to identify children who are living in vulnerable situations, rescue them, and give them a safe place to call home. His own difficult childhood prepared him for this calling.
Fizwell’s father abandoned their family before he was born, leaving their single mother to raise six kids on her own. “I used to watch our neighbor’s children celebrate when their father returned home from work and would wonder why my father did not love me enough to stick around.” Linety, Fizwell’s mother, would pray with her children and give thanks to God for his goodness, even when they would go to bed with empty stomachs.
Hoping her children would have a better life with their father, Linety took them to live with him and his new wife. “We faced hell from our stepmother. Even when there was food, she would deliberately starve us. She convinced my father not to send us to school and made us work instead.”
Fizwell escaped his father’s house and went back to live with his mother. He worked herding cattle in the bush, fetched water, and collected firewood to raise enough money to pay for school. From 2nd to 8th grade, paying for school was a constant worry and struggle. He walked miles to school every day, barefooted and hungry but grateful to be in school. When he reached grade 9, he had to sell water and ice blocks for one year in order to raise enough money to move on to grade 10. Then, Fizwell’s life took an unexpected turn.
His mother heard about African Vision of Hope, a school which does not charge fees. Fizwell was accepted, and he joyfully finished his high school career at our school in Kabulonga. Fizwell was granted an African Vision of Hope college scholarship and earned his degree in teaching. “I never thought I would have the means of becoming anything in life. It is a miracle and a dream come true. I am so passionate about my job because I am helping save children’s lives who are living in extreme poverty. The best story I can ever tell is what African Vision of Hope has done in my life.”
“When I look back, I see my life before African Vision of Hope as hopeless. The one phrase that kept passing through my mind was “This too shall pass”. I was recently reading Psalm 119:71, which says “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.” I would have never thought of it like that before, “my suffering was good for me.” That phrase was a sweet reminder that God has a purpose in all that He does. I call myself “a visible testimony of what African Vision of Hope exist for.
I can now see why I had to go through hard times and challenges at a young age; going to bed on an empty stomach, walking to school barefooted, going to school without a uniform, being denied schooling because of failing to pay school fees, feeling unloved and uncared for and struggling to get where I am. It was all for this purpose and to equip me for this job. With severe pains and problems, I understand that God was training me and opening my eyes to be able to see children in a special way that not everyone can see them.” – Fizwell
One of Fizwell’s biggest responsibilities is being the “house dad” to 48 boys and girls in our Chongwe Rescue Home. This is a safe haven and a place of restoration for children in need of rescue who are escaping abuse, child labor, and human trafficking. Right now they are in a temporary “home”, but soon we will be breaking ground on the Village of Hope in Chongwe, pictured above. Do you want to be part of saving and changing children’s lives? Provide a bed for one of Fizwell’s “kids” today.
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