MANY people in Lusaka may find it hard to believe that anything good can come out of the crime-ridden and drug-infested Chibolya Township.
But 21-year-old Barrington Chungulo is just one of the good things that the infamous township has produced.
By this time, Barrington, who was granted a scholarship to study in Turkey, has arrived at his Turkish base.
It has been an inspiring journey to success for Barrington who started off like most young people who often feel discouraged in life.
Born in 1996 from the high density township of Mikomfwa in the Copperbelt town of Luanshya, Barrington attributes the newly found joy of being offered a scholarship after many attempts as the grace from God.
He said although he faced challenges with his family in order for him to be educated, he believed that one day, his dreams would come to fruition.
His desire was to study Chemical Engineering.
After his father was laid off from a once famous garment manufacturing company named Serios, his family experienced a lot of financial challenges that forced the family to relocate to Lusaka.
That is how Barrington found himself living in Chibolya township.
It is from this township that Barrington started Grade One at a Community school, after which he attended John Laing Primary School where he did Grade Seven.
In 2009, he was selected to Grade Eight at Lotus Basic School.
He managed to complete Grade 12 at Kamwala Secondary School.
But coming from Chibolya put Barrington under a lot of pressure, firstly from his peers in the township, most of whom were petty thieves rather than be in school; and secondly from fellow school pupils who called him names because he came from a dangerous neighborhood.
Everyone knew how Chibolya was in terms of illicit activities, violence and crime that was common place in the township.
Although his fellow pupils made fun of him on account of where he was coming from, that did not deter him from pursuing his studies.
All he knew was that his future was bright.
“Peer pressure was there and many of my friends (in Chibolya) were not going to school; but I knew what I wanted in life and so I pushed on with what would be good for me in life and that was education,” he said.
Financial problems had also taken their toll on him such that he had to sell water at Kamwala Market when he was in his fifth grade.
“I was selling water because I wanted to buy clothes for myself although my parents were not for the idea of me doing it,” said Barrington.
Defying all odds of coming from a ‘shanty’ township where everything evil was thought to take place and carrying a tag that nothing good could come out from there, Barrington believed everyone had the potential to prosper regardless of their background.
The lad said the opportunity to attend Lotus Basic School gave him a chance to mingle with pupils from well-to-do families, a fuel that helped shape him into a responsible person who and see things from a different perspective.
Barrington also gives credit to his parents for the guidance they provided him with that helped him to complete school.
He believes that his parents did not want him to do things which would destroy his dreams.
It was during his days in secondary school that he developed an interest in reading Chemistry and how it worked in improving things.
“It was also during the time I was in Grade Eleven, that I developed interest in doing charity works for the community and that’s how I came up with a community project called The Dream Factory, which mainly deals with children’s health and education,” Barrington said.
Barrington completed Grade 12 in 2014.
He accumulated eight points, after which he decided to apply for scholarship.
But on six occasions, his application drew a blank.
“I applied for scholarships several times but I did not succeed and this did not make me give up as I believed that one day something would come my way,” he said.
He unsuccessfully applied for scholarships to Russia, Algeria, China, India, and Morocco.
This year, he tried his luck by applying for a scholarship in Turkey and this time, as luck would have it, he was among twenty applicants who were accepted.
“Am happy because this scholarship was not even done in Zambia, but in Turkey were no one can say the committee that selected the names knew me. This was a competitive scholarship were in Africa, they needed 1000 students, of which 20 came from Zambia,” Barrington said.
Barrington expressed his thanks to God that although he did not succeed in being awarded a scholarship by the local committee, he had finally acquired one which would allow him live his dream of becoming a Chemical Engineer.
Barrington believed since Turkey was ranked one of the top 20 countries that offered best training in Chemical Engineering, the opportunity to study in that country would be of greater benefit for him and for Zambia, especially from the perspective of sectors like agriculture and industry which Zambia is trying to develop.
“I will strive to learn during my study in Turkey on how the two sectors can improve the economy because it is these two that are driving the economy of Turkey,” he said.
He said Chemical Engineers were cardinal to the development of any country’s agriculture and industry.
Barrington, who would study Chemical Engineering at Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi for a five year period, believes that investing in Chemical Engineering affects the economy because it helps to improve the local manufacturing of most products in the industries.
He said Chemical Engineers can help improve local manufacturing especially in countries like Zambia which relies mostly on imports.
He said if there was enough expertise of local Chemical Engineers, the production of things such as fertilizers, could be increased and the commodities sold at an affordable price to farmers, which can consequently lead to reduced mealie meal prices.
Barrington explained that Chemical Engineering can be critical when applied to improve the economy of the country.
He said the period he would spend at school in Turkey would not be wasteful, but rather be an opportunity to improve and build his childhood dream.
The young man, who has already travelled to Turkey to begin his new journey, urged those trying to succeed not to easily give up as their destiny lay in the hands of God.
Barrington said had he been frustrated after trying to applying for scholarship since 2015 in March, he would not been talking about Turkey, but because of faith in God, he was now in a different position where he was even encouraging others not to easily give up.
He urged those in school to believe in their dreams.
He said all dreams were capable of becoming true if those who have them avoid illicit activities.
“Coming from Chibolya, I want to be a shining example to my fellow youths that no matter where you come from, nothing is impossible; all we need is to stick to our dreams and what we want in life,” Barrington said.
SOURCE: TIMES OF ZAMBIA/BARRINGTON CHUNGULO