During the course of our 10+ year relationship, we’ve had the chance to tackle some amazing projects – as the Dwankhozi community has directed our efforts and we’ve worked together in true partnership.
Like most village schools, Dwankhozi Primary School enrolls Grades K-9. To go on to secondary school (high school), village students traditionally must leave home and go to boarding schools to continue their education. With no secondary schools in the surrounding area, this was their only option for a long time. A rigorous exam at the end of Grade 9 awaits students. If they pass their exam (which is given in English), families must pay tuition fees, uniforms, housing and transportation costs. However, poverty and the demands of village life would force nearly all students to abandon their studies.
So Dwankhozi Hope established a sponsorship program at the beginning of 2012 to help Grade 9 graduates go on to secondary school. Our first two classes were fully sponsored thanks to the generosity of Dwankhozi Hope donors. As this program developed, we listened to the community’s feedback and direction. While donors originally sponsored individual students to go onto secondary school, we learned that a greater impact could be made by empowering the Dwankhozi PTA to determine financial needs. Dollars dedicated to student sponsorship then were distributed to students based on need, and who knows those needs better than the local community? This allowed our impact to extend even further.
Check out a video of some of our original sponsored students when this program was established here.
And the exciting news? The construction of a local secondary school removed the need for this sponsorship program, allowing students to continue their education without the high costs and long travel from home. Check out that current project under the “Projects” tab at the top of the page.
Noting the absence of a library at Dwankhozi and the difficulty in sourcing and transporting paper books, we cultivated an idea about bringing an electronic library to the school. That was just a germ of idea, made feasible by the Solar Power project in Fall 2011. In January 2012, we hand delivered the first e-reader devices (Kindles) to Dwankhozi Primary School. We began by brining six Kindles with us, conducted a training session with the teachers, and several Kindle workshops with the older students.
These first Kindles were preloaded with 50 books before arriving in Zambia. Here is a video recap of that first trip. We then returned to Dwankhozi Primary School in July 2013 and brought 50 Kindles, each preloaded with 100 books. On this trip we partnered with World Reader, an international nonprofit who helps bring digital books to children and families around the world, particularly in low-income areas. World Reader helped select relevant, preloaded content and were instrumental in conducting training sessions with Dwankhozi teachers. At the end of our week at the school, two Dwankhozi teachers earned certification as Project Managers, and continue to implement staff and student trainings. What began as a small idea turned into a remarkable partnership that has potential to extend to additional schools in Zambia! Check out the Worldreader “Partners” page to learn more.
Solar Power Project
In Zambia, days are shorter and there is no electricity available in the area, with only limited lighting both in Dwankhozi Basic School and in homes. Teachers have minimal time to prepare lesson plans in the evening and students are often kept from studying or completing homework because it is too dark. There was a natural solution for this problem: solar power. The potential impact was large: school buildings with the ability to stay lit after dark, students able to study much closer to home in their village. And at the school, vaccines could stay refrigerated, laptops or e-readers could be charged and it would make it possible for adult education classes to meet after-hours.
So we set about the project in two phases. First, we delivered ten D-Light S250 solar lights to the school building and helped install them on an upcoming trip. Then a year later, in 2011, a team traveled to the Dwankhozi community and installed separate solar panels to generate power at the school. We have seen these lights and panels utilized over the past few years and by many Dwankhozi teaching staff and students.
And we would be remiss not to mention the special group of supporters who came together in Chicago to form our solar committee and make this idea a reality. That committee was composed of John Vlahavas, Jeff Chou, Andy Clark, Rakesh Khana, and Chris Kenessey.
Clean Water Project
Spring 2010 Completion
Clean water is maybe the most taken-for-granted commodity we are fortunate enough to have in a place like Seattle. It’s difficult to convey just how significant this development was for the Dwankhozi community in 2010. By contracting with a local contractor in Zambia, a borehole was drilled into the ground for a new water station, right next to Dwankhozi Primary School. Now the school and surrounding community had unrestricted access to a supply of dependable, clean water. This project was a huge advancement for the community’s health and sanitation. Education was also implemented concerning sanitary use of the water station and proper care for sustaining this new, clean water source.
Primary School Building Project
Spring 2009 Completion
School Supplies, Textbooks, Desks
Teacher Education Project
Teacher Housing Project
PAGE UNDER WORK as of 4/1/16.