As the holiday season is upon us, we at Chikumbuso are preparing to celebrate with family and friends, as well as the entire Chikumbuso community - whether here in Zambia or across the sea in the U.S.. We are so grateful for all the folks who make up our circle of love and count our blessings that each of you is in our lives.
One big event we are celebrating in December is the graduation of our sixth graders. The Zambian school schedule means we graduate our kids right before the holidays - a fun time of rejoicing in their achievements. For Chikumbuso leadership, however, it is also a time of worry and financial tightening as we struggle to provide scholarships to all the deserving students. This year, 30 students will be leaving our free school and heading to secondary school. We know that once there, they are some of the highest performers - consistently at the top of their classes. Please consider helping us get these kids into school and keep them there!
The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
Ceaser, a small girl with big round eyes, has been with Chikumbuso since 2004 and her favourite subject is English. With five siblings, she explained to me that her family couldn’t afford having her attend secondary school without Chikumbuso’s help. She told me that she wanted to become a doctor in the future because she wanted to help people and is incredibly grateful for everything that Chikumbuso has done for her and her family. Two of her younger siblings are still attending elementary in Chikumbuso.
After graduating from the sixth grade, children are sponsored to attend the Ngombe PTA School by Chikumbuso to receive secondary school education. I was informed that everything is paid for from the tuition fees to the books and bags, allowing children that could otherwise not afford it, receive higher education. The school also offers classes in the evenings for adults that have not had a chance to finish their high-school education.
The class I visited was a 7th grade class of about thirty students, all from Chikumbuso save one. When asked why all of these children from Chikumbuso were in the same class, the senior teacher Doreen explained to me that grades were split according to ability and that the children from Chikumbuso consistently ranked the highest. I was very much impressed by the quality of education that these children were receiving and am glad children like this are given an opportunity to excel in school.
I am very pleased to announce the Chikumbuso Projects's Off-Site Safe Haven has been opened! Yay!This past Friday afternoon with much singing, dancing, laughter and tears, three girls were 'brought home' to live in the Safe Haven.We have taken in three girls for the time being. Girls that have been with Chikumbuso for several years now and one who is receiving a scholarship for Secondary School.
The girl in secondary school is Tiyankenji. On Friday, the ladies took very special care in praying for Tiyankenji - they each remembered her mother and their promises to care for Tiyankenji when she died. They spoke to her about how her grandmother had placed her in 'our hands' to see to her education and how now it is up to her to receive this blessing and grab hold of God's blessing and not let anything get in her way. There were many tears as each of the ladies shared their bits of advice and love.Patricia is a single orphan, 15, and in Grade 4. When she first came to Chikumbuso two years ago,at age 13, she barely knew how to read. With the help she's been receiving she is reading but will definitely need the additional help that being in this program will provide.Nyangu is 15 and in Grade 5. Nyangu struggles and has been kept out of school to watch babies and go find money for the family to eat. This safehaven is a real life line to Nyangu giving her a hope for the future and the ability to stay in school and focus on her studies.
Your donations providing for Secondary Education keeps girls just like these three on track and hoping for something more out of life. Thank you so much for making this difference.
One morning before the new school year began Esther, a young teenager, came by Chikumbuso asking for school funds. This is not our normal protocol for choosing children for our program so I went out and sat next to her and told her that I was sorry but she could not be part of our sponsorship program. I had been told that she was not living in the same slum that we have commited to helping. She actually lived a few miles away with her grandparents.
Esther looked at me very matter of factly and told me that she was not leaving Chikumbuso until I promised to find money for her education. Her english was great and her determination even better. As her story unfolded I learned that she had been going to school up to this past year but had to stop when her only surviving brother died of AIDS leaving her with elderly parents unable to help with the cost of school. She had no one else that could help.
School was obviously being taken seriously by Esther.
This is not always the case and over the past year we have realized that if we are to use your gifts wisely we need to do some monitoring and evaluation of our educational program. This past month we were blessed with some volunteers that came and did just that. We had to eliminate a few students but one of the best results that came to light was that each and everyone of our Seventh graders were receiving A's and B's and that they were, hands down, the top of their class!
Thank you all for helping with this program as we continue to send orphans to school who would not be going with out your support.
P.S. Our principal checked out Esther's story and she is now back in school through our sponsorship program!
Can we do it?
I had the privilege this week to address Chikumbuso’s 170 middle and high school students that we have sent off to Ngombe PTA school. The goal of my visit being to encourage these students to do their best. Sponsoring 170 students in their quest for an education is expensive and as the founder of this project it is important to me that we do not waste any of our donors money on students who do not want to be in school.
My charge to them was that as students representing Chikumbuso in the community their responsibility is:
Can they do it?
Yes, I am sure that they can.
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