Several programs dovetail together to provide comprehensive support for education.
Christian Basic Schools:
ZMF-C is currently supporting five “basic” or elementary level schools in the Kalomo area. Three of these offer Pre-School through to Grade 9. One is a Primary school and another offers Pre-School to Grade 7. ZMF-C provides financial help to construct classrooms, provide on-site housing for teachers, furnish classrooms, and provide income for teachers. In total the five schools are providing education for 1200 pupils.
When students pass Grade 9 they are assigned to a boarding school for Grades 10, 11 and 12 and this is the point when school costs are significant for a family.
Our student sponsorship program has several criteria: financial need, academic ability, a willingness to participate in volunteering, and a willingness to attend Church. Approximately 100 pupils from Kalomo High School and Namwianga Christian Secondary School are in this program.
When students enter the program their pictures are taken and sent to their Canadian sponsors. These pupils become a closely knit group within the larger student body at their high school. They hold one another accountable and encourage each other to succeed. Their families are part of the ‘team’, too, making sure that they are serious about the opportunity given to them to attend high school.
Following Grade 12 graduation students have a gap year in which they can apply to a post-secondary college or trade school.
If accepted, they can bring their confirmation letter and fee schedule to Mrs. Mbumwae for further sponsorship. In 2020 about 30 pupils are receiving financial help to study nursing, teacher training, agriculture and accounting.
Ideally, the Ministry of Education posts teachers to all schools. In reality, not enough teachers are posted to teach each grade and subject. Each month ZMFC provides five schools a grant with which to compensate additional teachers beyond what the MOE provides. Many of these teachers were within our sponsorship program in high school and college. By the time they finish their teacher training we know them well and they understand the high standards expected. Most will eventually be posted by the Ministry of Education though they may wait a number of years. Meanwhile, they can teach at one of the schools and support their families.
Lunch is often provided at the schools depending on the time of year and the strength of the harvest. Term one (January – March) is consistently a time when lunch is needed. Harvest takes place in April/May and therefore food is most plentiful in term two (May – August) hence no need for lunch. Then, by term three (September – November), there is often a need for some additional nutrition for the pupils. Twice per week TOBWA is provided and other days a hot meal of nsima, vegetables and a protein such as beans is prepared for the students.