I drive through Fishing Camp, Zambia, taking someone to hospital. The streets are filled with children. I ask “are all these children going to school?” “No, many never go to school” “Why?” There are many reasons, ranging from cost to beliefs: parents cannot afford the needed supplies, education is undervalued, the closest school is too far away, the child is an orphan. The reasons seem endless.
Malambo Grassroots has had success in supporting other schools in the region through strong community involvement and we now want to work with the Katulumba Community School in Fishing Camp. The school is trying to address the issue of low school attendance in their community of 3000 people with 3% employment rate –technically a squatters area, becoming a recognized community within Siavonga, southern Zambia.
Communities in Zambia are building their own schools to fill the ‘gaps’ left by the country’s mainstream educational system and Katulumba Community School is one such school. Fishing Camp’s community is building the school with donations from local businesses and individuals. Already, they have 300 children from preschool to grade 3. They hope to build new classrooms for more grades and train more teachers. At this point there are three teachers, one qualified and the other two finishing grade 12 and registered in a teacher’s training program. Through donations, Malambo Grassroots has been able to donate cement for building and has paid the fees for the two unqualified teachers to finish their grade 12 requirements.
We have found that if we improve the schools and the skills of teachers, the children come. As the schools improve, so does the confidence of parents that there is something the school has to offer. Also, the kids themselves find it more interesting to come to school than hang around the homes. School becomes a special thing – and fun. In Malambu Basic, a school we support in Monze, we have 100 % of school-aged children in the community enrolled. Malambo Grassroots focuses on supporting and strengthening community initiatives to deal with the challenge of providing quality education to their most vulnerable children –those who are orphans, those from extremely poor families.
The small children who attend this school no longer have to walk one and a half hours across busy streets and through rough communities to attend the only government school in the area. With increased support from donors, the number of students at this community school will grow, leading to a stronger more positive future for Fishing Camp and its inhabitants.
Among their many needs are supplies. For 300 pupils they have no text books for most of their classes. For one or two subjects, they had 2 or 3 textbooks to be shared by the 60 students in each class –an obvious challenge.
Malambo Grassroots would like to raise funds this year for a variety of needs, from small to large: much needed textbooks and supplies such as pens and paper, teaching aids, scholarships, a library, and basic infrastructure. As Zambians say, by giving “bit by bit” we will be able to reach our goals. We work with the community and help them to help themselves, meaning we train the school to look after supplies and ask locals what type of materials are needed most, so all resources are going to a needed cause.
In addition to our ongoing support in education, we also have many income-generating projects. To learn more about how your donations will help all of our projects, or other ways you can help, please visit our website: http://www.malambograssroots.
If you would like to donate to this project, please click on the link below and donate through Canada Helps. Please select “Malambo Grassroots” from the drop down menu. Thank-you for your donation, we really appreciate it!