Meet Dora. A 27-year-old primary school teacher in the rural village of Mapapa, Zambia, and adoptive Mom of 6 children.
Dora was born in Zambia and from a very young age felt a strong sense of wanting to serve (God) and become a missionary.
Dora trained to be a primary school teacher and is certified to teach English as a foreign language. Her volunteer work has taken her around the world to India, Kenya, Malawi, and now, Zambia. “The first time I visited Mapapa I was shocked at the level of poverty and the deep sense of hopelessness in the community. The children were malnourished, very few of them had any opportunity for education, there was no clean water, and hope was nonexistent. I felt strongly convicted to do something to help the children of this remote village," Dora explained.
Her initial goal was to be able to teach five days a week, feed the children one meal per day to supplement the small amount of food they often received at home and put in two boreholes to pump clean water for the village. “When I moved to Mapapa, I opened a school just a week after arriving - the need was that desperate. For the first 4 months I lived in a small hut with my two foster daughters, and I hosted school lessons under a tree. We enjoyed every moment of the experience. Later we were able to build a mud hut to use as a classroom. We have had many lessons including remedial skills, math, early reading, puzzles, hygiene, discipleship, etc.”, explained Dora.
“At the school I provide a hot meal every weekday for each of the children. This supplements the meager food they receive at home and gives them a better outlook for both mental and physical growth. A second meal each day is an unheard luxury for most village kids. I believe it will make a huge impact for them in so many ways,” she said.
“I also hope to provide not just education and food, but also clean drinking water for the village. We are currently drawing water, hand over hand, from a large pit/well. The water is murky and unsanitary. Additionally, it makes watering our garden is labor intensive and time consuming,” Dora explained.
Dora created a TikTok account in March 2018 to document the work she was doing in the village. In May 2020 her account began to attract hundreds of thousands of views on her initial videos on Mapapa. She currently has over 725,000 followers, gained over 16 million likes! Many viewers asked how they could help support her vision of improving children’s way of living in Mapapa.
On May 14, 2020, Dora created a GoFundMe page for the village with help from a fellow missionary in the United States. As her account continued to go viral, she surpassed her initial fundraising goal of $6,000 fundraising goal on GoFundMe, and has now raised more than $80,000.
Thanks to the substantial amount of donations from her followers on social media, Dora is now able to do so much more than she originally planned.
“Thanks to the generous donations I have received so far, I have recently been able to start working with a company to install 4 boreholes for water pumps – 3 are already working!” Dora proudly explained.
“Now we have 60 children attending school daily and we are able to feed each of them a hot meal five days a week,” she continued. “My goal is to build two real classrooms in the coming months to be able to host them all and provide them with a proper education!”
The additional funds are used to buy other necessities for the students such as vitamins, school supplies, hygiene items, soap, etc. and Dora enthusiastically shares her journey in supporting the children and the village through short videos and updates on her social media accounts. “I want people to see where the money is going – and to know that their support is making a significant impact on the lives of the people in Mapapa.”
But Dora isn’t only impacting the community as a teacher or even just financially, she also is the adoptive Mom (guardian) of 6 children.
In 2019, at 26 years old, Dora had already adopted two teenage girls (16 & 17 years old) who came from very difficult backgrounds and a terribly tragic situation which left them both orphaned. They initially started to stay with Dora, in a foster situation, and she was eventually granted legal guardianship of both girls. As time went on, Dora met more children who were in need of support and again went through the process of gaining legal guardianship of four more children.
“Often children end up being the breadwinners and adults depend on them to work from a very young age, education doesn’t take priority,” She explained.
How does she manage being a Mom to six children? “It’s challenging but I see it as an opportunity to learn from how I grew up and also learn from them,” Dora explains. “I see my role as a way to help the children become self-sufficient (in school or other areas). I want to offer the kids a chance at a better life in any way I can.”
She credits the positive influences and impacts of people in her life to have brought her to where she is now, but when I found Dora on TikTok of all places, I could tell she was just an extremely special individual.
If you are looking for some feel-good content and a great place to donate and immediately see the impact of your support, follow Dora – you’re guaranteed to smile as you watch her bring so much joy and love to the children of Mapapa!
- Dora, Mom of 6, Zambia
Follow Dora on social media:
Donate to help the village of Mapapa, Zambia via her GoFundMe page