from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – A physically-challenged uncle was raised Iziphozonke Mlambo along with seven other young relatives after his parents passed away.
“Izi”, as the 19-year-old is colloquially known, struggled with health problems and financially, often not being able to afford travelling to school.
Notwithstanding these seemingly unbeatable challenges, he excelled academically and never lost sight of his dream to study Medicine and empower other disadvantaged young people.
Today, the young man from Newcastle, northwest of the KwaZulu-Natal province, has been acknowledged among the extraordinary young changemakers globally.
Mlambo, currently studying Human Biology at Biola University in California, United States, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022.
The annual award worth US$100 000 is given to one exceptional student that has made the most impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society.
Mlambo was selected from almost 7 000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.
He is the co-founder and Vice President of Science Buddies, a non-profit organisation that nurtures young scientists by providing them the opportunity to participate in global science fairs and competitions while giving them access to professional mentors.
To date, it has reached over 100 learners from different backgrounds, connected them to over 50 mentors and partnered with over 15 science fairs, societies and competitions worldwide.
“Izi” has also launched a non-profit, The Rising Stars Foundation, which focuses on developing youth. It is currently focusing on students with university and bursary applications.
He has represented South Africa at numerous international competitions and fairs across science, public speaking and creative writing.
The teenager is currently one of the executive members of the African Students Association at Biola University.
“Now, more than ever, students like Iziphozonke deserve to have their stories told and have their voices heard,” said Dan Rosensweig, Chegg Chief Executive Officer.
The executive added, “After all, we need to harness their dreams, their insights, and their creativity to tackle the daunting and urgent challenges facing our world.”
Finalists this year have made an impact in areas from the environment to equality and justice, from health and wellbeing to education and skills, from youth empowerment to ending poverty.
“I extend my warmest congratulations to Iziphozonke,” said Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation.
“His story is a testament to the crucial role that education plays in building a better tomorrow for us all. It is the key to solving humanity’s greatest challenges, from war and conflict to climate change to growing inequality.”
Jeremiah Thoronka, a 21-year-old from Sierra Leone, was last year’s winner.
He launched a start-up, Optim Energy, which transforms vibrations from vehicles and pedestrian footfall on roads into an electric current.
With just two devices, the start-up provided free electricity to 150 households comprising around 1 500 citizens and 15 schools where more than 9 000 students attend.
The top 10 finalists of the Global Student Prize are expected to be announced in August this year.
The winner will be announced later in the year.
– CAJ News