The Zambia’s Scholarship Fund supports a continuous cycle of education at all levels in the system. Importantly, it works with and supports the existing educational infrastructure and education “economy.”By working with the existing infrastructure, it uses natural market forces to build the education system in Zambia.It uses the time-honored method of scholarships to allow students to afford school.Practically speaking, this means it really works!
High SchoolsHigh School is not free in Zambia. If a student has good enough test scores and can afford to go to school, then they will generally move to a larger city to go to a high school. We work with many high schools to provide scholarships for needy and worthy students. $25 a month will support a high school student for a year of education including room and board.Teacher CollegesA university education is incredibly cost prohibitive for almost everyone. We have chosen to support some of the two-year teacher colleges that focus on preparing teachers to be certified for teaching in village schools. We work with several colleges and provide scholarships to needy and enthusiastic future teachers. $35 a month will support a college student including room and board.Rural TeachersMany villages don’t have teachers, or only an untrained volunteer from the community. We pay for a certified teacher to go to needy schools where they are able to affect hundreds of students a day. They work to prepare students for high school, thus completing a never ending cycle of educational lifting of the society. $100 a month will pay for a teacher to move to a village, rent a home, and buy food. This is less than a regular teacher salary and most of our teachers eventually get official teaching positions after working with us for a couple of years. This program probably has the most impact of any program we support.Books and General Education Support Textbooks and libraries are pretty much unheard of in Zambian schools. Generally the students only learn what the teacher remembers from school. We recover, ship and distribute used textbooks and reading material before it goes into US landfills. We also provide teacher kits (paper, chalk, math or reading aids, etc.), desks, maps, and even computers to high schools. Anything we can do to promote learning in the rural schools is within the scope of our mission. We currently feel no need to build schools, as this seems to be taken care of by the community or the government. Student are willing to sit on the ground and listen attentively if they have a teacher and that seems to be the greater need.
In 2005 Helen Nanyangwe graduated from High school and had no money to go on to college. She walked from her home a great distance to the nearest teachers college in Kitwe Zambia and pleaded to be included on our ZSF program. After the long walk, she had arrived too late. The college had already chosen their students for the 2006 school year so she was told to return the next year. Again she make the return walk in 2007 but was again just too late and didn’t make the cut. But she was told they would save her a spot for the next year. However, she was quickly forgotten by the college because she was just one of so many students who come annually to plead for a spot.Her return the next year corresponded with an unexpected visit by Peggy Rogers, the founder of the Fund, to the school. Again the school had already filled the spots and had forgotten her because her distance from the school didn’t allow her be around during the year to remind them she was even alive. The school’s staff remembering their promise to her now begged Peggy to find a way to add her on to the list and Helen literally begged for help, weeping and desperate for an opportunity. The staff told Peggy that each year she came she looked more and more desperate and ragged. They did not have the heart to turn her away a third time. Peggy told her she would find a way to make it work. Luckily a sponsor back in the US stepped up and saved this woman from another year of exile. Helen completed her first year in 2008 and is on the program again in 2009. She will graduate in 2010 and start her career as a teacher.