Cecilia’s School of Good Hope:
Cecilia’s School of Good Hope based in Monze town is the inspiration for PEPAIDS’ Schools of Good Hope programme. Cecilia saw that many of the families living in her community were very poor and could not afford to send their children to school. She decided to set up a school to serve these families and allows children to attend and be educated even if their families cannot pay. In the long run, Cecilia knows that this will be of great benefit to the families as their children will be educated and while they are at school, the parents are free to go and look for work to bring an income into their households.
Cecilia sees education as a lifeline to helping families in her community escape poverty and is keen to do everything she can to make sure that the most vulnerable children receive an education. Her school has two tiny rooms for the reception classes and Cecilia has even turned part of her house into two classrooms to teach the other pupils. In total, she has 45 children who attend her school. Most of the families who send their children to the school cannot even afford to provide them with lunch and so Cecilia provides 18 children with lunch out of her own household income.
Like many of the teachers in the community schools we support, Cecilia is a volunteer and she cannot even afford to pay the other teachers who help her at the school. She recently took out a loan to start building two new classrooms with better ventilation for the school so that the children can have more space to learn and don’t get too hot. Cecilia also wants to build a wall around the school so that the children are safe and can’t run into the busy road.
As well as improving the school’s structure, Cecilia is really keen to make sure that the children have more toys, books and better clothing – all things that she can’t afford to provide herself.
Mujika West Community School:
Mujika West Community School is located in Kayuni zone in a rural area outside of Monze. Two communities decided to join together and start their own school in 2006 in response to the increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children in their community who had difficulty getting places in the local government schools. Many of the children in the community are also very young and it is a long and dangerous walk between Mujika and the nearest basic school. The people of Mujika wanted the children to have the option of getting an education within their own community and strongly believe that education plays a huge role in helping to alleviate poverty.
The children were being taught outside during the dry season, but there was nowhere to educate them once the rainy season arrived. Together the communities asked the local headman for a piece of land on which they could build a school and in 2007, building commenced with cement donated by an NGO. The materials were not enough to complete the school building and so between 2007 and 2009, SAPEP supported Mujika community to successfully apply for money from the Zambian government to complete the building. SAPEP also contributed a small amount of resources where they could, such as chalk and educational materials.
The building was finally completed in 2010, but although they now have a proper school building, Mujika School lacks a lot of equipment and facilities. Many of the families cannot afford to provide their children with lunch, shoes or proper clothing and the school lacks writing materials, books, toys and games for the children. Basic facilities at the school are also inadequate; the classrooms lack desks and chairs and there is no access to water at the school, meaning that the children have to travel to another village for this, which interrupts their school day.
Chisila Community School:
Chisila Community School is located in the district of St Mary’s, 12km south of Monze town. In 2003, the community launched an ambitious project to set up a school to help orphans and vulnerable children who are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding places in government run formal schools. The nearest government school to Chisila is 4.5km away and the distance is too far for many of the children to walk to.
Chisila has an AIDS Action Club who were trained by SAPEP in entrepreneurial skills and was one of the first clubs to develop a successful income generation project – rearing chickens and goats for a collective profit. As a result, the community at Chisila built up enough capital to construct the building for their very own school through the profits made from rearing animals.
The school runs with support from the local community which provides food and registration fees. It has been so successful that every year the number of pupils enrolled at the school increases and the school is now also formally linked with the Ministry of Education. The school currently caters for 84 pupils and all the children are still taught in the small classroom building that was initially built by the community. The school is served by two untrained volunteer teachers who are responsible for educating all the children at the school.
Chisila community are now all working together to build a brand-new school that will have three classrooms and an office. All community members are involved in the project from moulding the bricks for the school by hand, to carrying the building materials to the site by ox cart from 50km away. The new school building is an ongoing project and there are lots of things that the children and the school need: from toys, books, games and writing materials to proper school facilities such as benches and desks so that the children don’t need to sit on the floor.