Education for life
In Zambia, there is a real desire for education as without completing Grade 12—the equivalent of Scottish youngsters getting good Higher results—young people there won’t get even the most basic of jobs.
In Lusaka West, pretty scenery can mask the fact that villages like Chikandano have grown up informally, built by migrants from the countryside seeking work in the city. There are, of course, no streets paved with gold. In Zambia, around two-thirds of the 14 million population is in ‘informal’ employment. Drive into Lusaka from this side of town and you’ll see women and children sitting on the side of the road breaking lumps of limestone into gravel that brings in £1 a load. You’ll also pass dozens of men a women patiently waiting for a foreman to emerge from factory gates to offer a couple of them a day’s work—the rest go home disappointed and their families go hungry.
With no guaranteed income and family responsibilities taking precedence, it comes as no surprise to learn that teenagers just give up on their education—and if girls do quit, prostitution may be an unwelcome ‘solution’—but amazingly, many have a faith that keeps them hoping and studying.
In the past, not one youngster at Tubalanje elementary school, who passed to go to secondary school continued with their education, simply because their families couldn’t afford to pay transport and hostel costs at the schools where the Zambian Government allocated them places.
However, ZamScotEd—a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation set up by journalist Marian Pallister from Argyll and the Isle Diocese after visiting the country—brought its plan for a secondary school to Missio Scotland and soon a partnership was brokered between the two Scottish organisations, the Archdiocese of Lusaka, and the Teresian Sisters, who have an established record in the field of education.
When Zambian teenagers heard that Missio Scotland was supporting the construction of a secondary school on their doorstep, their smiles were immeasurable. Missio Scotland’s intervention turned the mustard seed of a dream into the reality of a tree capable of nurturing the educational needs of the area’s children.
A secondary school—St Columba’s—has now been built within walking distance of four elementary schools, including Tubalanje, and the promise of a future for all the area’s bright kids is taking shape.
“The seed was small, but the passion of so many people in Argyll and the Isles and in parishes around Scotland such as St Mun’s in Dunoon and Our Lady of the Assumption and St Meddan’s in Troon, Ayrshire, has helped us grow that seed,” Marian Pallister, said. “Thanks to Missio Scotland’s support, children will be able to reach their full potential.”