1. What is the current education situation in PLAEP target communities in Zambia?
Zambia suffers from extreme poverty. According to the Human Development Index report of 2014, which measures health, education and income, Zambia ranks 163 out of 187 with an overall coefficient of 0.448. This low standard of living affects all aspects of life, especially education. The major education problems identified in PLAEP’s target location include:
- No governments schools nearby to provide secondary education
- Orphans and vulnerable children have no access to school materials nor money for school fees
- Inadequate amount of teachers and volunteers to teach the students
- Insufficient means to support the few volunteers financially
- Lack of building space for classrooms to educate over 550 students
- Less time spent in classrooms because of the lack of quality and space
- Low school attendance and retention rate for children because of poor health and nutrition
These problems keep the children of Musonda in the vicious cycle of poverty. As PLAEP endeavors to advance life, it realizes that this education component is crucial. Education equips people to be competent, knowing how to share information. Without access to quality education, life will be impaired and unable to improve.
2. What is Musonda Community School?
Musonda Community School exists to provide educational and psychosocial support for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and to introduce them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We aim to support orphans and vulnerable children by providing a primary school education environment that is safe and encouraging, so that students may learn and be equipped with skills and knowledge to develop, thrive and flourish.
This PLAEP project began in 2006 to combat the educational problems in Musonda and surrounding communities. Over the last 8 years, this school has seen much development. In 2013, PLAEP was able to construct a new building with three classrooms, from the support of Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, in just three months. This building is located three blocks from the Musonda compound (community).
Everyday, over 550 students from grade 1 to 7 walk on the dust roads to school. The 8 teachers receive the children and then guide them through learning activities during the day. Since the Musonda School only has 3 classrooms, the teachers must rotate the grades, limiting most students to come and learn for only 2 hours each day. Each grade has about 60 students or more.
Around 12pm on Wednesday and Friday, the feeding program takes place. Women from the Musonda compound are employed to cook and serve the hot meals. Thus far, the food program has been a huge success for both the servers to earn money and the students to get energy to be attentive in class the rest of the day.
Around 3pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, a group of 20 women from the Musonda compound meet in the school shelter for a literacy class. Each woman comes with her notebook, ready to learn and practice the basic skills of math, english, reading and writing.
Some more of the opportunities at Musonda Community School include:
- An education for students in primary school from level 1 to 7, foundation for further growth and development
- Providing school materials such as books, text books, pens, etc. to the children
- Paying school fees for children
- Supporting volunteer teachers with a minimal monthly allowance
- A safe place for children in the new building with 3 classrooms
- Providing 2 hot meals per week through a school feeding program
- Employment and activities for women and widows to participate in
- Running a literacy class for older women and widows from the Musonda and surrounding community
- Many children are kept busy by both being at school and doing homework rather than spending their time in unhealthy and harmful behaviors
The participants in and recipients of its opportunities appreciate the way the school dually supports them by caring for their immediate needs, such as food and health, as well as educating and preparing students for the future.
3. How can you be involved in Musonda Community School?
- Donate financial support to build more classroom space so children can spend more hours in school
- Donate financial support to construct a bigger ablution block, currently, the whole school uses only 3 toilets
- Donate financial support to build a wall fence to further ensure the privacy and protection of the school property from vandals; recently, a motorist rumbled into the school building
- Sponsor a child: a contribution of $2 USD per month can help a child complete primary education and a contribution of $6 USD per month can help a child complete 5 years of secondary school
- Sponsor the feeding program: a contribution of $100 USD would provide a meal to 500 students (20 cents per student)
- Volunteer to teach: use your teaching skills to teach various subjects
- Share ideas and volunteers to support PLAEP with income earning activities to meet various needs of the school
- Give to the fund that helps financially support impoverished families to complete college education
Contact: Prisca Kambole, Executive Director
Office located at Superior Technologies, Silicon House Annex, Kantanta Street, Kitwe, Zambia