Banji Simasiku and her twin sister Pimpa grew up in the small town of Ndola, Zambia graduating from high school in 2004. They both set their sights on a bright future as they planned on attending university and launching successful careers. As they started to look at universities they quickly realized that access to public universities was very limited, but unlike 20 years earlier when Dr. Moffat and Doreen Zimba were at the same crossroads, Banji and Pimpa applied and were accepted at the newest and first private university in Zambia, it was Northrise.
The twins both started classes in 2005 Banji studying business and Pimpa studying IT. Both graduated from Northrise University with bachelor’s degrees. Banji was employed by Northrise from 2009 to 2013 at which time Banji earned an MBA.
In a recent interview Banji shared, “Northrise helped me grow closer to God and build relationships with others. Every faculty member went deep and wide for every student and they were always available for both academic advisement and personal mentoring. Being at Northrise equipped me for where I am today.”
Today, at the end of January in Phoenix, Arizona, Banji was visiting with Young Life leaders from around the world as part of Young Life’s 75th anniversary celebration. She spent some time with Northrise University Initiative staff and friends to share about the wonderful work God has called her to.
In February 2013, Banji was invited to join Young Life and attended training in neighboring Tanzania where she felt the call of God on her life to start Young Life in Ndola, Zambia. As of the end of 2015 God has used Banji’s faithfulness raise up two clubs in Ndola, one in a high school and one in a middle school. “We go out into the neighborhoods and build relationships earning the right to be heard and share the Gospel with them. We love them freely”, Banji said. Banji is currently serving as Country Director of Young Life in Zambia.
I asked Banji if she ever thought about leaving Zambia and this was her reply. “I thought about leaving Ndola, but the answer comes back that I don’t want to leave Zambia. I’ve had the opportunity to go out and see some parts of the world. But no place feels like home as much as my country feels like home. Even though some people will argue other places might be better than where I come from, but I want to argue that Ndola, Zambia has much to offer. And it’s my home and because I am called be in this place and if I leave who is going to do what I was called to do?”
I asked Banji if there was anything she wanted to share with the Northrise family, “It is so heartwarming for me. I don’t know how to say thank you the right way, but I feel the only words I have are thank you. Thank you so much for praying for me and know that your prayers have definitely not been in vain. The support that you give to someone you don’t know and probably have never met means a lot to a small girl like me who comes from Ndola.”
Banji’s relationship with Christ has guided her path as a young girl growing up in Ndola, graduating from high school, attending Northrise and loving the youth of Zambia and sharing the Gospel with them as the leader of Young Life’s efforts in Zambia. Banji’s future is bright!
Banji Simasiku is One Northrise Graduate empowered to change the nation of Zambia, one life at a time.