The education system in Lusaka, Zambia is very different than what we see in the US or other western countries. In Zambia there are two main types of schools: government schools and community schools. A government school is very similar to the system we are used to, except that a fee is charged to attend school. We work mostly with children who attend community schools, primarily because the fees for government schools are too expensive.
Community schools are run by individuals in the community who see a need or opportunity and open their own school in the area. The fee to attend a community school is significantly cheaper, but very often you get what you pay for. Community schools often only last two hours a day so that more children can be cycled in. Access to books, supplies, proper curriculum and quality teaching is often hard to get on such a tight budget and is lacking in most community schools. Many of the schools we work with also have very old facilities with exposed electrical wires or inadequate plumbing.
There are very few restrictions on who can open and run a community school. We love partnering with community schools like Destiny School run by Peter Kaunda, but sometimes the school directors are not looking after the child’s best interest.
Since school fees are a big portion of your monthly sponsorship, we want to be able to ensure that the children are getting a quality education for more than 2 hours a day from very qualified Christian teachers and with all the necessary supplies and books. By opening our own schools, we can offer all of this to your sponsored children, as well as another chance to impact the child’s daily life.
The new schools we are opening this year and next will greatly improve the quality of education these children have access to. Please consider helping us open the first seven schools this year by buying school supplies for a child in Zambia. Click here to learn more about our Fill-A-Backpack campaign where we are trying to collect 1,000 backpacks and supplies to send to Zambia. School supplies go on sale this week in the U.S., so now is the best time of the year to get a lot of great stuff for the lowest price!