Nanotechnology graduate gives back to school that inspired a love of learning
Recent UOW PhD graduate Alfred Chidembo didn’t own or borrow a single book as a primary school student. Nor did any of his classmates. In fact, their school in Zimbabwe didn’t have a library.
“We never had enough books at my school. My classroom was just like all the others, a huge room with no furniture and no books” Alfred, who walked 5km barefoot to school everyday, said.
“The teacher was the only one with a book and he would read to all of us.”
Although many years have passed since Alfred was a primary school student, not much has changed at his Mavhurazi Primary School in Zimbabwe. To this day, the students have no library and no access to books to borrow and read on their own.
After relocating to Australia in 2010 with a Master of Chemistry from the University of Pretoria under his belt, Alfred started a PhD from UOW’s Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials. He graduated in December last year.
Alfred has already made a name for himself as a top researcher in the field of supercapacitors and alternative-energy storage devices and is working at UOW spin-off company AquaHydrex.
He is now on a mission to give back to the school that inspired in him a love of learning.
“I have always known that the school was under-resourced, and now that I have completed my Doctorate in Australia, I feel it’s a great time to give back to the school and the community where I started off.”
Alfred is running a book drive and aims to collect 10,000 new and used books for the children of Mavhurazi School. He plans to ship the books in a container and convert it to a library for the children when it arrives.
“I want to make a difference in the life of the children from my village. A bit of help for these kids in the beginning will definitely open up more possibilities for their futures.”
For information on book drop-box locations, visit www.facebook.com/aussiebooksforzim.
(Photo and text from UOW website promoting the book drive. http://media.uow.edu.au/news/UOW195227)