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Dora Moono Nyambe

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Dora Moono Nyambe is a primary school teacher who is certified to teach English as a second language[1]. Before she started a job in China, Nyambe visited the village of Mapapa in Zambia. Shocked by the poverty of the village, she decided to stay there and set up a free school, dedicated to help the young children of Mapapa. This initiative turned out to be a NGO called Footprints of Hope[2].

The school[edit]

In 2020 Nyambe moved to the village of Mapapa in Zambia[3]. At first, Nyambe and her two adopted children lived in a small hut and the classes were taught under a tree. However, after four months she was able to build her first classroom[1]. As of today, she has adopted twelve children and fosters 188, who all go to her school as well[4]. In addition, she helps other nearby villages to start up a safe and free education system[5].

The school is not only targeted at education, but also at the children’s health and safety. The mission of Footprints of Hope is to educate, feed, house and protect the youth in the village[6]. Therefore houses were built for the children to live in safely, and a system was set up to feed all students. All children receive three meals and two snacks each day[3]. At the school bees are kept, from which honey is extracted. Furthermore chickens are kept on the terrain. These  products are sold to villagers in order to make money. The school tries to be self-sustainable by cultivating their own crops[7]. The area however is dry and the soil is not very fertile, and due to climate change the droughts have become even worse. This poses challenges regarding the cultivation of crops[8].

Moreover, the school has a bus with 32 seats to transport kids who live farther away to the school. It is also used to bring people to the hospital when the time calls for it[9].


Nyambe created her TikTok account in March 2018, however she did not start uploading content until May 2020. After the encouragement of her followers, she started a GoFundMe page for her school on May 14 2020 where people can donate to her cause of helping the children of Mapapa[1]. Her TikTok account enables her to reach people from all over the world. Through this huge network Nyambe is able to pay all her expenses independently, without any government aid[10]. All of her funds come from donations through her GoFundMe page[6]. Her TikTok account is a huge success, with her now having 4 million followers.

During the Covid-19 pandemic there were great food shortages. With the money raised through the GoFundMe page, Nyambe installed two water-pumps to make sure the village had access to clean water. Since moving into the village in 2020, Nyambe has built twelve[11] classrooms, dining hall library, kitchen and activity area[12]. She wants to ensure a good education for all and has therefore created a day care center for young mothers and their children plus a dormitory for children who live further away. She also provides school supplies, uniforms, shoes and food for the children. Nyambe dreams of providing a secondary school and medical clinic for the village in the future.

As for now, Nyambe is comfortable with her career and feels a need to be where she is at the moment, yet at some point she would like to go to other villages to spread her work[7].


Nyambe’s journey has not always been easy. Nyambe: “When I started to adopt, people said I couldn't do it because of my age and being unmarried”. Despite proving these people wrong, her achievements have not come without risks. She needs to ensure her safety and has therefore often guards or other forms of protection around her. "Adopting 12 kids, feeding [village inhabitants] their starving kids, taking their sick kids to see a modern doctor, building a free school in a very remote village, rescuing hurt animals they've left to die and not being married” are all things that could get her killed.

In a YouTube video Nyambe explains how she got arrested after taking a child to the hospital. When one of the children stopped showing up at school, Nyambe got worried and visited the child at home. There she found out that the child’s illness put her in a life threatening situation and thus decided to take the child to a hospital, after being told by a doctor this would be the only way to save the child’s life. This however was done without consent from the parents, who had Nyambe arrested. After explaining the situation, and due to a lack of proof, Nyambe was set free and the parents were arrested instead. The child recovered while being in the hospital[13].

This conflict is a result of the conflicting interests of Nyambe and people in the village. As explained in one of her TikTok videos, women in the village do not want to take their children to modern doctors, because it goes against their traditional beliefs[14]. These conflicting interests pose dilemmas for mothers of sick children and put Nyambe in difficult situations as well.

Next to the differences in beliefs, Nyambe experiences other difficulties while living in Mapapa. In an interview she elaborates on her position as a woman in a patriarchal society: “We can do so much as ladies, but we continue to face many hindrances. We are unable to express ourselves as freely in society as men …  we have less of a voice to stand up for us when we need it the most, which is why our individual voices really matter.”[15] Being an unmarried woman in a traditional village limits the safety and opportunities of Nyambe and her children.

In addition[edit]

Joseph Schmitt wrote a book about Nyambe’s experiences called Under a Zambian Tree: Dora Moono Nyambe's quest to educate her nation[16]. All profits go to the school and the children[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Reports, Staff (2020-09-04). "How TikToker Nyambe is Bringing Awareness to Extreme Poverty". BORGEN. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  2. Nyambe, Moono (2012). "Maximizing reproductive possibilities and choices for women living with HIV". PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e628452012-366. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "It all began with a video posted online! Social media is a very powerf..." TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  4. "How did Dora Nyambe, a 27 year old become a Tiktok influencer to uplift the lives of 188 children in Africa?". Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  5. "Any thoughts?". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nyambe, Dora Moono (2023-01-09). "Linkedin". Linkedin. Retrieved 2023-01-09. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Reply to @theweeone we are doing this together!!!". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  8. "It's not fair that those who contribute the least to the climate crisi..." TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  9. "We definitely can make this world a better place". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  10. "Replying to @Sophie. Conlin💗💗 Who wouldn't be 😂". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  11. A little update about our school in a remote village., retrieved 2023-01-09
  12. "Update on the transformer and bringing electricity to the village". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  13. Taken to jail for taking a sick child to the hospital., retrieved 2023-01-09
  14. "What can be done?". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  15. Zhou, Lauren (2020-06-08). "Interview: Dora Moono Nyambe". HERstory. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  16. "Per sale is up for #underazambiantree on #amazon". TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  17. "If we get 5000 books in per sale now sold on amazin all proceeds go to..." TikTok. Retrieved 2023-01-09.

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