SEATTLE, Washington — Tiktok is a social media platform with hundreds of millions of users across the globe. TikTokers make videos ranging from one second to one minute in length about anything they wish. In the past six months, TikToker Dora Moono Nyambe (@doramoononyambe on TikTok), a teacher in rural Zambia, has risen to TikTok fame with videos of her school and life in the rural village of Mapapa, Zambia. Nymabe currently has over 725,000 followers, gained over 16 million likes and greatly exceeded her $6,000 fundraising goal on GoFundMe, which presently stands at more than $80,000.
Nyambe and the Village of Mapapa, Zambia
When Nyambe first visited Mapapa, she could not believe the dire situation before her. Poverty was everywhere, and hope was minimal. Children were not being educated, often went hungry, while the village lacked clean, potable water. As a missionary, Nyambe felt a firm conviction to help the village in any way she could.
Nyambe left her teaching job in China and moved to Mapapa nearly a year ago with her two foster children and almost immediately began her school. She is a primary school teacher who is certified to teach English as a second language. Initially, she and her daughters lived in a small hut, and she held lessons under a tree. After four months, a mud hut was built to have classes out of the harsh elements.
While she first created her TikTok account in March 2018, it wasn’t until May 2020 when Nyambe began to upload and attract attention to her account. After receiving hundreds of thousands of views on her initial videos on Mapapa, many viewers asked how they could help support her vision of improving children’s way of living in Mapapa. On May 14, 2020, Nyambe, with help from a fellow missionary in the United States, created a GoFundMe page for the village.
TikTok Fame and Raising Funds for the Village
In just a few short months and thanks to the success of her Tiktok account and the generosity of her followers, Nymabe raised more than $80,000. Recently, Nyambe has been uploading videos showing how the donation money is being put to work to improve the quality of life for the children of Mapapa. Her TikTok videos show food being prepared for the school children, the joy on the children’s faces when they eat a nutritious meal and her lengthy trips to the market on a bumpy dirt road to buy food and clothing for the children, among others.
Additionally, Nyambe occasionally uploads “interviews” with the children, which brings home the human impact of the contributions, putting a face to the children benefitting from the donations and the importance of helping people facing extreme poverty. One of Nyambe’s most popular uploads is a video of her unboxing a package sent by a donor filled with toothbrushes and toothpaste, with all of the school children happily gathered around her.
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. Thanks to the substantial amount of donations from her followers, Nyambe is now able to do so much more.
To date, three boreholes have been dug, providing the villagers with an excellent supply of clean water. Additionally, the extra funding allowed Nyambe to build two brick classrooms, which are nearing completion. She is hopeful that she will be able to begin providing two meals per day to the children, an almost unheard of luxury in a village as impoverished as Mapapa and an important step to help her students not only survive, but thrive.
Nyambe’s account is growing faster than ever. In the last month, she has gained nearly 300,000 new followers and nearly doubled her likes. As her fame continues to grow, her followers are encouraging TikTok to verify her account. A verification would make it easier for her to earn money from video views, which she could put toward helping the village. It would also increase trust in the veracity of her claims and prevent people from making imposter pages to try and steal donation money from unsuspecting users.
With each of Nyambe’s videos, more and more people in developed countries are being exposed to the realities of extreme global poverty and able to see that essentials like clean water, food and clothing can make a world of difference for impoverished children. Like other humanitarian TikTokers, Dora Moono Nyambe is bringing awareness to extreme poverty and has shown how TikTok is an excellent medium to spread the message that extreme poverty can and must be eradicated.
– Jeff Keare