Phanny Takes the Wheel in Zambia

By Priscilla Chama, ChildFund Zambia

As we conclude our 75th anniversary blog series, we are focusing on success stories of youth and alumni from ChildFund’s programs in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Today we meet Phanny, an automotive repair supervisor in Zambia.

“I never imagined when I was growing up that one day I would work as a supervisor in one of the prestigious companies in this country. I supervise a team of men who work in automotive repair, vehicle servicing and boat repair.  I owe my success to a man that sponsored me through ChildFund, and I’m really grateful. My life has turned around for the better, and I wake up every morning with a reason for living.”

Phanny at work

Phanny at her workplace, Autoworld.

These are the words of 28-year-old Phanny, a supervisor at Autoworld, which sells an extensive range of automotive, marine and lifestyle products in Zambia.

Phanny’s parents died when she was only four years old, and none of their relatives offered to take in Phanny and her 16-year-old sister after they were orphaned. So, the sisters remained in their parents’ home, and Phanny’s sister dropped out of school and resorted to doing odd jobs so that they could survive.

“My life before ChildFund was very difficult,” Phanny explains. “My sister only made enough for us to have a meal, I had no hope of ever starting school, and most of the time I joined my sister, washing people’s clothes and cleaning their homes for food.”

Phanny’s big breakthrough came when her sister heard about the ChildFund sponsorship program (then, Christian Children’s Fund) and the girls were immediately enrolled in programs at Tiyanjane Community Association.

“Being enrolled at Tiyanjane project was the biggest relief for us,” Phanny says. “The sponsor I was assigned to was very kind. In our letters, my sister explained that I came from a child-headed household, and he became like a father to me. He did not just send us money for my school but also inspiring letters and cards. I looked forward to receiving them every month.”

With support from her sponsor, Phanny sailed through primary school and qualified for secondary school with good grades.  She completed school in 2006 and decided to study motor vehicle engineering.

As you can see, I’m the only lady here, supervising a number of men. I feel like I’m living my dream.

In 2009, she started working for Autoworld as an assistant motor vehicle technician. She rose through the ranks through her commitment and love for the job. Today, she is the supervisor and still the only female at Autoworld’s downtown branch. She and her sister live together in a nice house, and Phanny’s sister no longer has to take odd jobs.

“As you can see, I’m the only lady here, supervising a number of men,” Phanny says. “My life has changed positively, and I feel like I’m living my dream. I have dreams of meeting my sponsor to thank him and tell him in person what his support has done.”

About her future plans, Phanny explains that she wants to further her education and open a garage of her own so that she can support other children in need in her community.

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