This article originally appeared in IB Global News, which provides an array of news and information about IB programmes, professional development and research.
We spoke with student Tatenda Mashanda, who talked about what he learned at the recent IB World Student Conference at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
What do you enjoy most about being an IB student?
Being an IB student at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa is something that I have enjoyed despite the rigorous work that I have to do. The programme has aided in the discovery of my strengths and weaknesses, which has helped me identify what type of student and person I am.
I want to see the prosperity in my country extend throughout the African continent. So it is my dream to be one of the global leaders from Zimbabwe when the time comes.
I try to achieve all the learning outcomes of the IB learner profile because I feel they are crucial in my development as a leader. Being open-minded and a critical thinker in order to provide solutions to problems is something that I have gained as an IB student. I like the idea that you are challenged to think outside your religious, political or cultural background because you develop a strong sense of tolerance as you try to approach certain problems from different perspectives.
Community service taught me how to give back to people who are vulnerable and less privileged. I grew up as an orphan in rural Zimbabwe without access to education and health facilities. Now that I am in a better position compared with my peers back home, I always strive for their betterment.
What did you learn from the World Student Conference at Wake Forest University?
“It is better to build children than to repair men” was one of the driving principles of the discussions that I had with friends. The need to invest in young people through making education available to everyone was one of the most important things that I learned from the conference. Education can ultimately be used as a force to unite people.
Why did you get involved in the 30 Seconds of Change project? Can you provide some details about how it works and what it has accomplished?
I became involved with 30 Seconds of Change as one of the co-founders because I believe in empowering young people. 30 Seconds of Change is a movement by youth and for youth that seeks to amplify the voices of youth regardless of where they come from. At Mpaka refugee camp in Swaziland, we gave clothes to young people, did environmental cleaning and donated computers for the education of children. At Sebenta National Institute’s primary school, one of the most vulnerable schools in Swaziland, we donated computers and helped get a guidance and counseling program put in place.
You have gotten involved in a number of projects, including teaching about AIDS and working in a refugee camp. How do you plan to use those experiences as you look toward university and a career?
I am looking forward to studying law and human rights, which will help me advocate for vulnerable people and minorities. The future of the world rests on us young people, so it is important that we get educated.