Twavwane Community School in Kabanana was established in 2003 by a group of local social workers. There was no state primary school in this particular deprived area of north Lusaka, with a population of 7,500 people.
There are over 3,000 community schools in Zambia, set up by community groups and churches so children who can’t afford state school fees can get an education; they tend to have a high percentage of orphaned and vulnerable pupils.
Children just keep coming to Twavwane and classes average 70 pupils. Many malnourished, HIV+ children are referred here by the local clinic as its volunteers are trained health carers and the school supplies free meals to all 530 pupils (co-funded by ZOA-UK and Stephen Lewis Foundation in the US). Without a nutritious diet ART medication may not be effective, so it’s imperative that children have access to a school meal.
In 2018 we will be continuing to support 105 primary and secondary pupils and funding eight students to gain vocational qualifications at college. Around 30 of the children we support through Twavwane are HIV+.
Pupils in Grades 1-9 (primary and lower secondary grades) attend in two sessions, taught by ten volunteer teachers. Pupil households are carefully means tested and ZOA’s support is targeted at the most disadvantaged. Consequently all Twavwane’s pupils are vulnerable. We also support older children to attend local state schools. Out of school these kids would be at high risk of forced early marriage, abuse or child labour.
Twavwane offers after school lower secondary classes (Grades 8 & 9) to children without funds or sponsorship for government secondary school. This is to prevent them dropping out of education at this critical stage. The hope is that funds can be secured to enable them to re-enter the official school system for Upper Secondary, Grades 10-12.
School feeding programme benefits
Since the school started providing meals in 2012 health has improved significantly; particularly amongst the 30 HIV+ pupils we support. The Board are very proud that there have been no pupil mortalities since this time (previously around four a year). Attendance, concentration, and exam results are also greatly improved and compare favourably to those at state schools in Zambia.
New Desks for Twavwane
Until recently the pupils had to squeeze four to a two-seater desk, most sat on the concrete floor. Teachers stood all day with no place to mark work. However, thanks to the generosity of a number of Charitable Trusts and individuals the school now has a desk space for every child and teacher (see photo of after school Grade 8 class benefiting from these, right).
These desks are already having a huge impact on the benefit the pupils are gaining from their lessons.
In 2017 we secured the funds needed to install a kitchen to replace the field shelter (pictured right) which was woefully inadequate for the number of children and unusable in rainy season. Work was completed on the new kitchen in summer 2017 and the school also now has a dining area where pupils can eat during bad weather.
Please can you donate to help pupils at this under-resourced school achieve to the best of their ability?