Along with our Dutch sister charity, StichtingMwabuka, Malambo Grassroots fundraises for our scholarship program aimed at Zambian children for whom the cost of education is beyond family means.
To a give a child a fair and equal chance in life, education is extremely important. It helps youth to think for themselves and to make better choices. It gives young people the opportunity to find a job, to stand on their own feet, and to help, in turn, the next generation. It brings village children into the contemporary world.
In Zambia secondary school fees are too high for farm workers, rural villagers and the urban poor. Without help, many children and AIDS orphans cannot attend secondary school or attain any further education.
The demand for help is more than we can currently offer. We refuse children every year. Our fund is further stretched due to the AIDS epidemic – we have many orphans coming to us requiring assistance. In addition, children who successfully complete high school are now asking for career trainings. These are much more expensive, but very necessary.
With funding from donors in Holland, Canada, and England, we funded 68 students in January of 2012 to secondary school, colleges and a few to university.
Scholarship applicants are interviewed, their marks are reviewed, and they are required to obtain an acceptance letter from the school, college or university that they will attend. They must have an adult sponsor who will be responsible for payment of uniforms and supplies, while Mwabuka/Malambo will fund them for tuition. As they come to us in January before the year’s harvest is in, sponsors usually have no money.
In this case we loan them whatever they need and the sponsor has the responsibility to repay us. This connection between a student and an adult works well, and we do not often have to pay for everything.
During school holidays these students are expected to accept summer jobs if possible in order to raise money to help their sponsors see them through their courses. Student jobs are created for most students through our family farm. We get to know students well and follow them closely for the duration of their education, monitoring marks and attendance. If something goes wrong, we try to address the underlying issue, and in this way the young people on our books are encouraged to go forward, and from our rural area we have graduates in pharmacy, electrical, teaching, business, driving, lab technician, the list goes on.