Photo: Co-founders Ignicious Bulongo and Lonnie Hackett at the recent opening of a school health center in Ng’Ombe.  
Lonnie Hackett, Bowdoin ’14, was recently included in the Forbes annual "30 Under 30" roundup of "young innovators on the verge of making it big." 
Mr. Hackett founded Healthy Learners (formerly Healthy Kids/Brighter Future) while working towards an undergraduate degree at Bowdoin College. He created the program which trains classroom teachers as front-line health care workers after a trip to Lusaka, Zambia, which revealed a huge gap in health care for school-age children in the region.
The Rotary Club of Brunswick hosted Lonnie at a meeting in March of 2014 to hear his story of helping the impoverished community of Ng’Ombe on the outskirts of Lusaka. Springing into action, Brunswick Rotarians submitted a global grant request to The Rotary Foundation, and the first grant was approved in the amount of $35,000. In all, five Rotary grants totaling over $300,000 have supported the Healthy Learners organization. One of those grants helped to cover the expenses of Mr. Hackett attending the University Of Oxford School Of Public Health. These funds helped to start Healthy Learners, a project which has gone on to raise $6.5 million and serve over 100,000 school-age children.
When the pandemic began to spread, the Zambian Departments of Health and Education looked to Healthy Learners as a resource to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Once again, The Rotary Foundation provided funds in the form of a global grant to cover the costs of education and prevention of the disease.  
The program is now on track to include over a million children by 2023. Lonnie Hackett’s mantra of “Every child deserves the right to health” is ringing true on the other side of the planet thanks to his unfailing dedication to the children in Lusaka. For more information on the organization, please visit the website at