In the Zambian educational structure, students attend Primary school from Kindergarten through Grade 9 (not a typo, this is how they refer to it there!). At the end of their primary schooling, students must pass a rigorous exam, administered in English, to go on to Secondary School (the equivalent of American high school – grades 10-12). For those who did pass in the Dwankhozi community, the closest Secondary schools were boarding schools very far from their home. The cost of traveling, room and board, as well as educational supplies were far more than families could afford.
As Dwankhozi Hope came alongside the community and the school grew, more and more grade 9 students began to pass their exam. We began to sponsor individual students to go to a boarding school each semester. Then, as the number grew, the Dwankhozi PTA (made up of parents and community leaders) helped distribute financial aid to families from a general pool, based on need. But this wasn’t a sustainable solution.
So finally it came clear what needed to happen to truly transform these children’s educational opportunities: build a Secondary School right in the community so more students had access to affordable further education. So that’s just what we’re doing!
Construction began in January 2015 and it is on schedule for completion by the end of 2016. On the west side of the Atlantic, we have gathered supporters to help make this project possible. On the east side of the Atlantic, in Zambia, the community has rallied around this project. A local contractor is overseeing construction, parents and adults are helping make bricks for the buildings – and the local government has recognized the project and is coming alongside to supply teachers as each grade’s classroom block is completed. Take a look at some pictures below to see the amazing progress, the ceremonial groundbreaking and the first group of grade 10 students in 2015!