The first thing you see when meeting Bethlehem Steel FC defender Prosper Chiluya is his smile. It’s something that he will say that he enjoys doing. Earlier this month, Chiluya was given the opportunity to pass along his smile to dozens of children back home in Zambia when he teamed up with a former teammate to donate supplies to an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia.
“It’s one of the most important things that I’ve done,” Chiluya said. “It’s a very small place, they support both boys and girls who don’t have parents and they always need food, clothes and other items.”
Chiluya’s connection to the orphanage in George Compound, that helps not only orphans but disabled children as well, began long before he came to the United States. While he was a member of the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYFC) Academy in Lusaka, Chiluya’s team would play games and donate equipment for the orphanage to raise funds to support the effort. The place stuck with the 20-year-old for eight years and when approached by one of his former teammates in Cyprus, Gabriel “Biel” Company, he jumped at the opportunity to help out.
“When I first saw it, it stayed in my mind and I promised myself that when I had the chance to help in any way that I could, that I would do my best to do just that.,” Chiluya said. “Biel asked me if there was any places that he could help donate with and we both decided on the same place. We both had some money to aid the orphanage so I ended up sending home to my parents where they helped purchase the food, blankets because it’s very cold right now and some clothes. We just wanted to help them get through this tough time and maybe put a smile on their faces.
After making sending the funds to his parents, Chiluya continued to train and work on his profession in the United States. Not expecting recognition for his deed, Chiluya was sent photos from the day when his parents brought the items to the orphanage.
“Being able to give back brings joy to me, I feel happy to see those people smiling,” Chiluya said. “I feel so good to see someone smiling; I’d rather struggle and see someone else smiling. Joy, happiness, all those things are how I would describe giving back.”
While this was just the first time Zambian U-20 starter has been able to give back, he has his sights set on a much bigger plan should his soccer career continue to progress.
“One day if I could get stable with my career, I wanted to pass on my luck and success to them. There are many other places where there are people struggling so I still have places to help out. I know that one day when God blesses me, I’ll be able to help those people and places. My ultimate goal would be building an orphanage in Zambia where we could have teachers and doctors there to support all kids and provide them the foundation for a good life and hopefully smile like I do. I hope that it gets to happen one day, it’s my biggest prayer that I’ll be able to give back.”