Zambia is one of the world’s poorest nations; about 68% of the population live below the poverty line. A generation of working age adults has been lost to HIV/ AIDS and something in the order of 1.1 million children have lost one or both parents to the virus. Nearly half the population is under 20 years old and many children live with extended families. The challenges of daily life are enormous.
Primary education in Zambia is free in principle, but for many children school is a luxury. If places are accessible and available, the cost of uniforms and books is often prohibitive. The fees for secondary education are beyond many families.
Education provides knowledge and develops skills; it also provides emotional support and personal development, and builds confidence. Schools often provide the only wholesome meal of the day. Above all schooling enables children to fulfill their potential and in turn, help their communities to become sustainable.
MAC supports a range of initiatives to increase children’s access to education, including:-
* Provision of clean water and sanitation to increase school capacity
* Payment of rental costs for premises and examination fees
* Payment of teacher training costs as part of school capacity building
* Support for funding of school meals programmes
* Contributions of school uniforms and school desks
* Support for a revenue-generating initiative – a brick making project
* Support for School Trustees by helping prepare their Development Plans to gain government recognition and direct funding
* Funding support for school building programmes
* Linking schools in Zambia and the UK
MAC’s priority at the present time is to support the initiatives identified by Misenga and Trust Schools - see MAC Projects. We also aspire to develop stronger links between schools in the UK and those in the Zambian Copperbelt. We recognise the potential benefits for children in both countries:-
* Improved communications and an understanding of different ways of life, hardships and opportunities
* Broadening of children’s horizons and an understanding of differing cultures
* An input into different school curriculums and learning experiences
* Development of support for specific projects in Zambia by UK schools, children and their parents
* Teacher and pupil cultural and social exchanges.
Zambia’s children are its future and their education is a means of making it a success.