Student has big plans for her home country

While most college students are concerned about financing their own college tuition, Monde Leck, sophomore, is concerned with financing her whole country’s.

Leck, an international student from Zambia, Africa, is on a mission: raise enough money to establish a university in her home country. And not only establish a university, but make the education free to any Zambian.

“The idea is to provide an education for anyone that has a willing desire to learn,” Leck said.

She also hopes to earn enough financial support to provide book scholarships to students. Due to an overwhelming rate of poverty in Zambia, most young people do not have an opportunity to attend college.

A friend, Tomas Jech, sophomore, is excited about her aspirations.

“Monde is trying to rebuild a country in shambles,” Jech said. “Her decisions are rooted in preserving an entire culture, in helping an entire population – a population all but forgotten by the world.”

Leck realized to receive an education, she would have to leave her country. After working very hard and receiving financial support from her grandmother, she was able to buy a plane ticket to the United States.

Her flight was an act of blind faith. She had not finalized arrangements with any of the universities she had applied to online. When she arrived in the United States, she visited several schools she had applied to. It was only when she came to BGSU that she was welcomed.

“Everything I do is a big fluke,” she said. “I must just be a lucky person.”

One class helped her to find her niche in the academic world – her philosophy class. “I’ve never been exposed to those kinds of ideas before. My mindset was based on the things I learned in Zambia, which is not as broad as what you learn in philosophy,” Leck said.

She plans to continue her education at BGSU to earn a master’s degree in higher education administration and student college personnel.

Leck dreams of a university where students can learn anything they aspire to. The University of Zambia offers mostly accounting, business and medical degrees. She hopes her university will provide more options to students.

She plans to name the institution The Mela University of Zambia, after her grandmother.

“I want to pay her tribute because she is a fabulous woman,” she said. “She has contributed so much to the society and has been very involved.”

At such a young age, starting a university seems almost impossible to some.

“People say things like ‘that’s a very big dream’ and it gives the connotation that it is far fetched,” Leck said.

This scepticism does not phase her.

“She’s a very determined person. She doesn’t let other people’s attitudes get in the way when she knows what she wants,” said Kampire Bahana, a close friend.

One factor is working in her favor: She has already started. She has purchased the land on which the university will be constructed and plans to speak at a fund-raiser later this year.

“I have a very good feeling about it,” she said.