Northrise gave me a new perspective – Raban Siame
The 4th of June, 2016 marked the beginning of a new chapter for Raban Siame. After years of perseverance, Raban graduated with a Bachelor’s of Information Technology from Northrise. Now in possession of a diploma from a university whose status is on the rise, Raban’s opportunities will never look the same. His achievement is a bittersweet outcome of a long fight for a breakthrough. It has taken Raban twice the standard number of years to complete his degree program. Ideally, he should have graduated four years ago, but because of financial struggles that befell him when his sponsor died, Raban ended up taking eight years. Nevertheless, he can attest to God’s faithfulness. He speaks of God as being constant; bringing supportive believers from church and the Northrise community to walk alongside him. In the end, Raban’s completion of college has worked out to be a sure testimony of walking in God’s grace. Raban confirms, in hindsight, that he is able to see more clearly the valuable life-lessons God was imparting in him through the Northrise phase.
Raban came to know about Northrise University through a church encounter with the co-founders, Dr. and Mrs. Zimba, in 2007. In 2008, Raban enrolled at Northrise as an I.T major, with a minor in Business Administration. Then two years into school, an unfortunate turn of events changed the course of Raban’s academic path; his uncle, who was his main sponsor, died suddenly, leaving Raban to begin fending for his own school requirements. Even though both parents are still alive, Raban’s dad has never been properly involved in his life and his mum does not have tangible financial means. So the death of his mum’s brother, the man who had taken up the responsibility of supporting him, was indeed a big blow. Thankfully, Raban did not quit; he was determined to press on. He had already defied the challenges of a dysfunctional family and successfully completed high school.
By His providence, God ushered in a new ray of hope; a Christian friend from Ndola Baptist offered Raban a part-time sales job to help mitigate the loss of sponsorship. Even with the drawn-out process of taking one or two courses at a time, the denigrating comments from some associates and of course a subtle sense of self-doubt, Raban soldiered on. God, his constant, came through in a variety of ways; in addition to the sales job, the church helped financially from time to time and a Christian family took him in. Raban lived with the Phiri’s of Ndola Baptist. It was a period of significant spiritual growth. Raban contributed to the Phiri family by helping out Mr. Phiri who was wheelchair-bound. In turn, the Phiri household provided stability, spiritual encouragement and practical support for Raban.
About a year ago, Joyce Chimbila, a Theology graduate of Northrise, offered Raban a job as Programs Coordinator at Arising Life Ministries International, a faith-based organization she has set up to educate orphans and vulnerable children in Ndola’s Mushili compound. The opportunity at Arising Life came as a much-needed boost to see Raban to the finishing line.
Beyond graduation, Raban sees himself continuing to serve at Arising Life for the foreseeable future. He feels very connected to the work and the children from the Mushili community. His life experience has evoked in him a passion to see others realize their educational dreams. Service Learning at Northrise also made a lasting impression on Raban; it sparked his love for community work. “Northrise has given me a new perspective – it’s not about me alone anymore, it’s about community, family, friends and my country.” Having gone through university and seeing its benefits, Raban feels troubled about the stagnation of some of his family and friends due to a lack of education. His hope is that his own educational achievements will have an impact on children in the community, family members and friends. He says, “Most people need someone to push them to another level.” Raban’s plans for the next five years include exploring interests in database technologies and pursuing postgraduate studies, but by and large his desire is to be obedient to God’s leading.
By: Madalitso Kalombe