As one of the practical components of education at Northrise University, Service Learning was introduced in 2010 to impart in students a heightened sense of responsibility towards issues in the communities they interact with. The last five years have seen the concept develop to achieve so much more than was initially anticipated. Today, Northrise students are among the most aware and connected young people to pertinent issues in the local communities. Service Learning has ignited a fire of altruism; it is commonplace to see individual students, campus groups and clubs engaging in various forms of charitable endeavors. There is a growing pride in giving back and helping out. Here a sense of hope is roused, that more of such influence holds potential to reverse the selfish trends that have plagued Zambia in recent years. We can say with confidence, pride and gratitude that the repertoire of educational provision at Northrise University is helping to recapture the spirit of community and excellence among young people. And in a few years’ time, Northrise will have populated the industry of Zambia with leaders who have a heart for the welfare of the nation.
We are thankful to God that we have already started seeing spectacular rewards of the university’s consistent investment in the spiritual formation and social engagements of students. This February, the students opted to express love by holding a fundraising valentine’s event to raise financial support for a community school reading program instead of the usual celebrations. The students came up with creative ideas for the fundraiser; they baked, cooked, made drinks, set up a love themed photo booth, turned the campus dining into a dance hall and literally charged something for every experience someone could pay for. The variety of games, music and talent acts they had put together made for a buzzing Friday, with lots of fun for students, but in a very meaningful way. With every bite of a snack, gulp of a drink or snap in the love booth, money was being made. Members of staff also joined in to buy stuff, and paid to enter the function room to take sneaky peeks at the dances and acts. Using the funds the students raised, story books and other logistics to start the Service Learning program at Mapalo Academy were paid for.
As part of the first Service Learning session at Mapalo Morning Glow Academy, Northrise students took on small groups of pupils to read stories with while a couple of them joined the classes to support the teachers with delivery of lessons. Others went to help out with serving lunch and cleaning up of dining facilities. Hearts were touched on both sides; while the little boys and girls sensed the love and care from the Northrise team, students left fulfilled for giving their time and support to a community of underprivileged children.
As its Christian ethos, Northrise is determined for education to be a truly transforming and inspiring experience.
With an approach to start from the inside out; from the spiritual formation to the intellectual and the physical development of the person, our hope and prayer is that in many ways, curriculum instruments such as Service Learning will keep touching on all core values of empowering our students for leadership responsibilities in Zambia and beyond.
Written By: Madaliso Kalombe