Meet our Founder
At 19, Whitney packed her bags and set out from her small hometown in Western Kentucky for a two week adventure in Africa. When boarding the plane, she had no idea that those two weeks would forever change her life. Falling in love with the continent, the people, and the culture, she has spent the last 10 years doing everything possible to make her way back to Africa time and again.
While in Zambia, Whitney has spent a lot of time in a shanty compound of Lusaka – a place called Ng’ombe. Exploring the winding dirt roads, she began to visit local community schools. In the tightly packed compound, she found school after school with hundreds of excited children. Some were tucked away in people’s houses. Others met in one or two rooms of dilapidated buildings. At these schools, she kept meeting inspiring teachers committed to their students. Most of them had never received any kind of training as a teacher. Some of them had never even finished high school themselves. The majority of them were volunteering their time each day for their students and taking home a very small allowance, if anything at all. They had very few supplies and books for their schools. Maybe just a small dusty chalkboard in their classroom. But one thing they had plenty of – children eager to learn.
With a heart for kids, she started asking her new teacher friends, “Who is helping you teach these children? Who is supporting your schools?” And each time she heard the same answer… “No one.”
She was inspired by teachers who give everything they have to educate their students. She was inspired by this grassroots-led solution to the need for education in Zambia. And she was challenged to become a part of the solution. Recognizing the potential of community schools in Ng’ombe and the power of education to transform lives, the dream of Impact One Initiative began.
Challenged to be a part of the solution, she has used her experience in Africa and Master’s in Social Work to create Impact One to serve as a network of support for community schools so that they can excel at educating their students and transforming their community. Her desire is to support these schools in the work they have already set out to do – changing the future of Ng’ombe through education.