Revenue Collector

Climbing the career ladder through books

7th August 2019 | Blog

Tradwel Chilala in Zambia began his career with Kitwe City Council as a cleaner. Using books you helped to send, he has developed his skills and is now an Administrative Officer at Kitwe City Council and studying for a degree. He believes he would not be where he is today without books from Book Aid International.

Here he tells us about the difference having access to brand new books have made for him.


Chilala as an Administrative Officer
Tradwel used donated books to support his studies and is now an Administrative Officer


The secret to my rapid career change has been burying my head in books mostly donated by Book Aid International.

I grew up in a village between Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka and the country’s tourist capital, Livingstone. I left school when I was in the sixth grade of primary school, age 15.

Zambian village
A Zambian village

After that I had a number of jobs – I was a garden boy, shop attendant and security guard. In all these jobs I believed that I needed to do something that was satisfying hence, I decided to start up own business as a street vendor which I managed for 12 years.

Due to the little knowledge I had of business circles, my fortunes dwindled. I went into charcoal burning for a few months and with the capital I reopened the shop. It was during this spell that I realized the biggest gap in my life was my education level.

My shop was overlooking the Copperbelt University. The sight of it kept me hoping to one day to be a student.

University of Zambia open day
It was the good supply of books in the University of Zambia’s library that convinced Tradwel to undertake a degree there

Then I was offered employment as market cleaner by Kitwe City Council.

The turning point in my career came when I attended a career exhibition in 2015 at the University of Zambia. I realised that I could do what I was most passionate about: They had displayed books in various disciplines from Book Aid International, including Public Administration, which was my preferred field of study.

Having seen the adequate reference materials that were available in the university library, I felt encouraged to enroll for a two year Diploma Programme in Public Administration.

Joy came to me after I successfully completed my Diploma Program in 2016 as I was then promoted from Revenue Collector to Administrative Officer.

Chilala as a revenue collector
Donated books helped Tradwel to successfully complete his diploma and he was subsequently promoted from Revenue Collector to Adminstrative Officer

The availability of the books I needed also gave me the desire to pursue a degree program in Public Administration.

I enrolled for the course in 2017 with the University of Zambia by distance learning. I am the first person in my family to go to university and I am now a proud third year student.

I spend my free time in the University of Zambia Library – I am still greatly benefiting from the books that are in the library.

My degree course is the requisite qualification for most government positions – I highly aspire to hold certain positions and with the books at the university library, it’s one thing that I believe I’ll achieve.

I totally agree with Book Aid International’s statement that books change lives. They have changed my life.


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