This is Christopher Makwangula in grade one. He is an orphan and stays with his aunt. Christopher walks five kilometers each way to and from school.
Malambo Grassroots has been working with the St Vincent de Paul School in Monze. In 2011 we raised funds to cover the school’s “wish list” of needs:
* a desktop computer
*a pardin pot (for cooking school lunches)
*chitenge material for income-generating crafts ( the children and Sister Lontia make shopping bags which they sell)
*wool for a school craft program
* book shelves for their new library.
Many of the students come from child-headed households, often because their parents have died of AIDS. Other students come from families that cannot afford to pay for basics.
The head of St Vincent De Paul is the very motivated and inspiring Sr. Lontia. She recently sent us some photos of a few students, which we’ve posted here.
Our long term goal is to raise funds for scholarships for these children who are highly motivated to go as far as they can educationally. The further we can assist them in this dream, the more they will be able to build their futures.
This is Maureen and Teresa. Maureen is in the red skirt and Teresa is in the blue skirt. Maureen is from a poor family whereas Teresa is an orphan. Teresa is epileptic and constantly gets attacks. She tries to take care of herself by taking the medicine at the right time. Teresa is in grade 4 and Maureen is in Grade 6.
This is Rachael Muleya. She is in Grade 6. She loves school so much that she cycles 40km every day, carrying her young sister on the bicycle. The parents are not in favor of their schooling, but the girls have just stuck to what they believe and have continued coming to school.
Children enjoying lunch after school
Here is an excerpt from a message from Marylee Banyard, who is now in Zambia. On a recent trip into the nearby town of Monze, she encounters both old and new, from technology to polygamy to children orphaned by AIDS:
“We have laminating facilities in Monze now. It sort of works, but is a little gimpy. Photocopying too… the page comes out with a dark mass at the top.
“The man there gave me a big lecture about, “Why is it always women and orphans? What about the MEN!” He said he is a grandfather supporting an orphan at Zimba school. He also said that he was born in a hut, not a hospital, and BaTonga culture has good midwives. We foreigners don’t understand Tonga culture.
“I said we should go have a cup of coffee, as he was continually being interrupted and dealing with all sorts of people with issues while he was arguing with me and trying to laminate.
“He also said women bring it on themselves because they don’t have to be second and third wives. They have choice. [ed: Polygamy is still legal in Zambia.]
“From him I went to see Sister Lontia at the St Vincent de Paul Community School in Monze. We discussed many things. Concerning second and third wives, she pointed out their usual circumstances of poverty and insecurity. The children they bring with them into the marriages are often not accepted by the new husband, and the real father has probably died or vanished.
“She has 204 children in the school, of which 123 are orphans, and 77 are “vulnerable”. Sometimes the economic pressure is too great for families and children are abandoned. Although the school tries to charge K5,000 ($1.25 Canadian) per term (3 terms a year ) the school accepts all, even if they can’t pay. They are Catholic Mission funded.”
A student from St Vincent de Paul Community School paints a mural on the school walls. The Zambian flag flies high above.