By Taonga Bwalya
When her name is mentioned to over 5000 teenagers and youths, many, if not all, aspire to be like her. This young medical doctor recently completed pursuing her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) at the University of Zambia and continues pursuing her passion towards adolescents. In 2015, while she was in her 5th year of medical school, Natasha co-founded a non-profitable organization called Copper Rose Zambia (CRZ) which focuses on rai
sing awareness on sexual and menstrual hygiene among adolescents.
The organization has educated over 5000 adolescents through the Candid Pride Campaign and Woman4Her programmes. In addition, CRZ has been on various fundraising ventures and the funds are used to provide menstrual hygiene kits to gir
ls in rural areas. The volunteers and members are also committed to help teach the girls how to make and take care of re -usable sanitary towels in ord
er to reduce on the costs of buying sanitary towels every month. In January 2016, she was nominated for the Nelson Mandela – Graca Machel Youth Activism Award for working with adolescents on the Candid Pride Campaign.
Due to her hard work and passion in raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health, Natasha is the award winner of the 2017 Zambian women of the Year Awards where she was named as The Zambia Health Care Champion of the year. She is also the winner of the 2017 Queen’s
Young Leaders Award which recognizes and celebrates young people aged 18 to 29 years from the Commonwealth who are using their knowledge and skills to transform their communities. The winners of the Queen’s Young Leader’s Awards receive training, mentoring, networking and a one week residential programme in the United Kingdom. During this period, the awards are presented to them by Her Majesty the Queen of England. With her achievements, someone would think that she has done so much, but to her, this is just the beginning. Her work with the community started way before she co-founded CRZ. In 2013, she served as the acting president for the Zambia Medical Students Association (ZAMSA) until 2014 .Currently, our Queen’s Young Leader is an Associate fellow for the Royal Common Wealth Society, she is the Country Coordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and she is also a member of the Youth Coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
Through these programmes, Natasha supports youth inclusion in policy making. Natasha says that her career objective is “to
make a difference in the lives of many starting with sharing of the knowledge and skil
ls I have acquired thus far in my field as well as being of service in my community.” She also respects and stands on the shoulders of mentors, one of whom is Dr. Sharon Kapambwe, the National Coordinator for Cervical Cancer Prevention.
Like Natasha, don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and make a difference. Remember, there’s only one YOU!