A New Voice

The New Voices

As they walked passed the hundreds of eyes that were deadlocked on them, an ora of doubt filled the air. The crowd simply couldn’t understand how these high school students were going to represent them and construct a formidable case before the Honourable Member of Parliament. What this crowd didn’t know was these were no ordinary teenagers. This was Junior Parliament. A team of fearless young advocates who are passionate about transforming their community and country.

They had spent the past couple months researching how the government is providing affordable education for orphans and vulnerable children and looking into the shortcomings of some of these initiatives. This past Saturday, they invited their area MP to a meeting with the community and debated this very topic. He expressed his amazement at the size of the crowd (that was well over 550 people) and he admitted that it was the largest crowd he’s addressed since taking office.

As the debate commenced, the skeptical crowd was won over with each argument that was presented. They were moved by these smart, articulate and valiant parliamentarians in training. They were calling out the MP when he attempted to evade a question. One member of the audience said, “If I didn’t know any better, I would think they are colleagues.” The Speaker of the House, Nathan Tembo, actually called out an elderly PTA member for being out of order and commanded him to “apologize to my house.” The MP verbally acknowledged the evidential growth of JP team since their last debate and appreciated the research they had conducted on the subject matter.

The highlight of the day was when Ray Jr. expressed, with the most passionate tone of the day, how unacceptable it was that government schools were not being deliberate about including children with special needs in their agenda. Schools were not wheelchair accessible, the curriculum didn’t include students that are mentally disadvantaged and classroom space for these students was incredibly minimal. One of the teachers from his school was in the crowd and when she took the mic, she backed him and thanked him for his heart for these kids.

When the debate concluded, the JP team were walking past a different crowd. Gone were the looks of doubt and scepticism, they were looked upon with hope. They were met with shouts of praise, high fives and grateful hugs from the audience. They earned the right to be the voice of their community. Ray Jr. shared their new reality with us. “Now when we walk through the market, everyone knows us. They celebrate us and thank us for our fearlessness and they want to know more about us and what motivates us.
For me, it is simple; a leader must take risks in order to grow.”

David Temfwe