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Mutsa Chiromo '19

Giving back is a way of life for student from Zimbabwe

Mutsa Chiromo '19 felt there was a story waiting to be told by Whitworth's African students. So in 2016, she started Shades of Africa, a female a cappella choir on campus.

"Our aim is to share the gospel through our cultural music to an audience that is not very familiar with our languages and genres of music," says Chiromo, a biochemistry major from Zimbabwe.

The choir also provides a way for Chiromo to give back. "I have used this opportunity to start raising money for organizations in Africa," she says. "We have managed to raise money for a group of missionaries in Ethiopia to purchase books to further their education, and we have also fundraised for a school in Zimbabwe."

Founding Shades of Africa and fundraising are just two of the many examples of Chiromo's leadership and service at Whitworth. She coaches students who need academic assistance at the Student Success Center, and she promotes health as a peer educator on the Health Education Action Team (HEAT). Last year, she served as president of the International Club.

This year she is volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission clinic, serving those who are homeless in Spokane while gaining experience for medical school. "This experience has been very meaningful because it has shown me a different side of life in the USA," Chiromo says. "Spending Saturday mornings with men experiencing homelessness has helped me to see them as individuals. I am glad that there is something that I can do to make this community feel more appreciated."

As much as she does on campus and in Spokane, Chiromo also makes time to support less privileged children in her home city of Harare. She started a fundraising initiative with her friends from home to support a school that brings children off the streets – the same school Shades of Africa has backed.

"When I visited the school, I was welcomed by two sheds that were falling apart due to the heavy rain and children who were kneeling on the wet soil as they wrote their schoolwork," Chiromo says. "I hesitantly asked the principal what the school needed to succeed, and he answered, ‘Anything you can give.'"

Her group started small, raising funds for books and stationery. "My hope is to continue supporting the students in the hopes that they can fulfill their dreams," she says. "I have been very humbled by this experience because it has taught me that the life I live is simply a gift that I did not work for."

Chiromo would ultimately like to become a doctor in Zimbabwe and perhaps turn her fundraising initiative into a nonprofit organization. "I always say that I want to start an organization as big as UNICEF one day," she says. "Wherever I am in life, I want to be giving back to my people."