TikToker Dora Nyambe Changes the Lives of Children in Zambia

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Written by Samantha Bradley , Features Editor

Dora Moono Nyambe is a 29-year-old woman who was working as a teacher in China teaching English as a second language. She left her job and traveled as a missionary to Mapapa, Zambia, a rural, landlocked country in southeast Africa. During her trip, she was shocked by the extreme poverty and heartbreaking stories that were shared with her while spending time there. Her breaking point was hearing about parents who decided to marry off their teenage daughters in exchange for money. As a result, she decided to quit her job and move to the village of Mapapa to do everything she could to help them. She adopted her first child after a young thirteen year old girl asked her if she could do her laundry to receive money. The girl had been orphaned and was living with her aunt, along with her younger sister. Nyambe adopted the two girls and has since adopted a total of twelve children over the years. After moving to Zambia, she immediately got to work so she could save up money to buy land to build a school for the children. Within one week of living there, she began her primary school. 

The school started out with a few kids learning under a tree, but then developed into a mud hut and has now grown to several brick classrooms including desks, books, and chairs. She teaches math, reading, hygiene, and other life skills things they can use throughout their lives that they wouldn’t have learned at home. Nyambe started a TikTok account to share some stories of the children in her village and spread awareness about what is happening in Zambia. Most of her videos are light-hearted and feature the students dancing and playing. In one video she shares, “This is Grantson, he is twelve, he likes to write, and his favorite thing to do is go to school.” She also posts simple videos about the food she cooks for the kids, the students trying ice cream and lollipops for the first time, and the borehole she is building to provide them clean water. Sometimes she posts emotional videos about the unfortunate circumstances that are faced there and how she tries to help: “From an early age girls here are taught that being light-skinned is beautiful, so we have a girl club where we teach them that we are all beautiful regardless of our different shades.” And in another video she shares, “Starving children are a reality, instead of trying to cover the topic up by showing all these nice places we live, let’s be real. Let’s say we know this is happening and how we can stop it from happening.” 

On her TikTok, she also shares the stories of teenage girls who are facing being married off by their families: “My stepdad wants me to move out and get married because he doesn’t want to feed me,” and, “My Dad was given money for me to marry the old bad man. He is fifty years old,” and many more stories. Dora pays the family the amount of money they would have received for giving away their daughters and enrolls the girls into the school for protection. Dora strives to break the generational cycle in eastern Africa surrounding child marriage. The cultural belief that marriage is the highest honor in society leads to most families finding it easier to marry off their daughters. By doing this, they can receive money that they can use to barely get by. Since these values have been ingrained into the kids throughout their lives, some who have the opportunity to go to the school decide not to. 

Through sharing the kids’ lives and stories, Dora has gained attention about her school on TikTok and has a current total of 3.2 million followers, and has received 103.7 million likes on her videos. She has single-handedly saved more than fifteen girls from forced marriages and provides for starving children. She uses her platform on TikTok to spread awareness about serious issues taking place in the world and is providing a life-changing experience for the children in the village of Mapapa. She does this while also keeping it fun and creating dance videos with her students. She has shown them compassion and has given them the opportunity to have food and education. There are several fundraisers on “gofundme.com” to help fund her work and improve the conditions in the school. Currently, there is a fund to build a high school for her students who are about to graduate from primary school. Without a high school education, she is worried many of her students will fall back where they came from and the cycle will continue. If you would like to help Dora’s efforts without spending any money, simply liking or sharing her TikToks will help her get verified and make more money from her videos while also spreading awareness for the children in Zambia. Or you may click the link below. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/building-a-future-for-the-children-of-mapapa?qid=a1d24680e8676b2444de00f6c773c3f1