AT a tender age of 20, he has achieved so much not only for himself, but for the country as well.
Today, he is known as the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) Youth Ambassador, and youth reporter for the Children’s Radio Foundation of South Africa.
Brighton Kaoma, born to parents William and Hilda Kaoma on December 27, 1993 in Kitwe, is a shinning example of a youth who is living his dreams.
Born among four other siblings, with three sisters and one younger brother, Brighton is a first year student of environmental education at the University of Zambia (UNZA).
He began his education at Lulamba Primary School and later proceeded to Mitanto High School, in Kitwe.
As a child, he was thrilled by the idea of becoming an architect, simply because it stroke him as the money spinning career.
“I believed that once I pursued architecture I would be rich overnight, but as I grew much older and completed my junior secondary school, I started developing a strong passion for the environment in general, and that prompted me to start up am environmental club in my tenth grade,” he said.
From that moment, his passion for the environment grew and he has continued to nurture it till this date.
While at school, he served as a senior academic prefect and he and his contemporaries initiated the Chibembele Environmental Club where he was president.
While serving as president for the club, in 2010, he was designated as the UNICEF Climate Ambassador, and since then he has been involved in community activities such as initiating environmental clubs in schools.
His passion in environmental matters began in his years at junior high school when UNICEF advertised a call for youth participants- the first ever Zambian Children’s Climate Change Conference in Lusaka.
From this platform, he attained skills in radio presenting, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, and theatre for development.
“Since then I have been implementing activities in my home town of Kitwe, with learners from Mutanda, Helen Kaunda, Ndeke High Schools and others,” Brighton said.
He has participated in a number of conferences nationally and internationally, for example in 2012, he was key not addressor at the Maastricht School of Management annual research conference which took place in Holland.
This turned out to be one of his most memorable moments after UNICEF emailed him a letter stating that he was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the Maastricht Global annual conference which was attended by more than 600 graduating doctors and professors.
And as a young person before the learned people, it was a challenge before he got there, because he was imagining how it would be standing in front with people like Princess Maxima, the Princess of the Netherlands.
Brighton has made some presentations at the UNICEF offices at the Hague, on what young people are doing to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming.
He was invited in his capacity as youth reporter to the 2013 International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa (ICASA) for the Children’s Radio Foundation of South Africa.
This was because they trained him as a youth reporter, while UNICEF invited him to the conference to represent young people in Zambia.
He was trained in media advocacy, interviewing skills, and uploading these stories on The Voices of the Youth-a UNICEF platform for youths to share stories on issues affecting them.
“So all the stories I did at the ICSASA were shared with other young people globally, using this platform,” he explained.
At the ICASA conference, he was privileged to interview the likes of the former president of Botswana Festus Mogae, UNAIDS executive director Michelle Sedibe, Zambia’s National AIDS Council chairperson Joshua Banda.
He also had the opportunity to interact with many policy makers, at regional and global levels, and he also had the chance to interact with Zambia’s First Lady Christine Kaseba, who was the keynote speaker at the ICASA.
He has also been co-organising conferences under UNICEF Zambia, called the Zambian Children Climate Conferences.
In August last year, he also co-organised the sixth Zambian Children’s Climate Conference 85 adolescents were trained as youth climate ambassadors.
In the last week, he won a competition known as ARETE stories, a global competition open to both professional and amateur photographers.
The prize includes him attending a photo review in Nairobi Kenya with the global award scheduled to take place end of this month.
Asked on how he manages to strike a balance between school and all other activities he is involved in, Brighton, responded by saying it is not a challenge because he doing what he is passionate about.
“This makes my extra curricular activities like those he carries out with UNICEF much easier to do because my extra curricular activities involves environmental issues, and I am also studying environmental studies,” he said.
His dream is to be among those that have contributed to helping Zambia mitigate the effects of climate change as well and pace for workable adaptation strategies.
His message to his contemporaries, who feel issues relating to the environment are boring, is a quote from a political icon Nelson Mandela.
“It only seems impossible until it’s done,”
“I believe that my fellow young people aught to realise that environmental issues have no limited borders, because when there are droughts or floods, everyone including the young people are affected,” he said.
“We the young people should not only view ourselves as future leaders, because we are the leaders of today and tomorrow,” he added.
He challenged young people to ensure that they engage in activities and careers that they are passionate about because a lot of young people are not involved in what they are a passionate about.
“There is an adage that states that ‘do what you are passionate about and you will never have to work’,” he said.
During his spare time, he enjoys reading, surfing the internet, visiting friends, and web searching, watching and playing soccer.
He describes himself as a good striker, and ardent supporter of Power Dynamos Football Club, largely because his father is also a fanatic of this team, while on the international front, he supports Barcelona.
After having achieved so much at a tender age, Brighton still believes there is still room for improvement.
“A friend of mine once told me that ‘better is not good enough, the best is yet to come’, I believe I still have many years ahead of me, and I one day hope to become a leader in Zambia,” he said.
He believes that Zambia is in dire need of leaders who can lead other young people with passion.
“I have a long way to go, I want to pursue my masters, and I pray that things work out well and I do it from Sweden,” he said.
He hopes to take up a dictorate in International Relations because he wants to be an advocate for some pertinent issues from an international fora.
Top on his agenda will be to contribute to bridging the gap between the rich and the poor in Zambia.
His most memorable moment was when: “I want to empower and inspire many young people in Zambia, especially the adolescents, to believe that they can do what they set their minds to regardless of the challenges they encounter along the way,” he said.
For now, he will continue to live by Nelson Mandela’s words of wisdom, ‘it always seems impossible until it’s done’.