Aquinoe Learning Centre

Unsung Hero Jean Wins Top Charity Award in New York

Unsung Hero Jean Wins Top Charity Award in New York

Jean’s 15 years devotion to Aquinoe was recognised on Saturday with a top international honour in New York.

Jean, 71, won the humanitarian section of the annual Mwape Peer Awards which are now in their 10th year.

They were founded by New Jersey-based Zambians James and Ruth Mwape to pay tribute to unsung heroes from around the world who have made a difference in Africa through their energy, tenacity and creativity.

Since founding the Aquinoe charity in 2004 well over £150,000 has been raised by Jean with the unflagging aid of fellow trustees (Tina, Lynne and Clive), family, friends and supporters.

Jean, who spent some of her early teaching career in Zambia, has visited Aquinoe many times, often with her sister Tina.

In addition, over the years various friends and family have visited The school to lend a hand as volunteers.

Jean and husband Dave flew to New York for Saturday’s gala event held in a banqueting hall on City Island.

Dave, 74, says: “It was a fantastic evening and we are all so proud of Jean for all she has done over the years.”

Son Chris, 39, who was also there, said “It was a wonderful reminder what an extraordinary woman Jean is and how blessed I feel to have her in my life.”

About 180 people were at  the event, including the co-founders James and Ruth Mwape, Mayor of Yonkers Mike Spano, and a leading figure in international law and economics Professor Kenneth Mwenda.

Other categories apart from the humanitarian sectio(n for which Jean was recognised included education, nursing and professional leadership.

Jean and Dave have kindly been hosted in New York with Mbums, a former pupil of Kaoma Secondary school in Zambia, where Jean taught in the 1970s.