Lifeline Energy’s CEO Kristine Pearson has just returned from visiting community schools in Zambia that use the Taonga Market radio education programme. The Hakalinda Community School in the Southern Province was just one of the country’s expanding community schools that received Prime radios. Hakalinda’s enrolment is only 120 children and Grades 4 and 5 and Grades 6 and 7 are combined. The nearest government primary school is six miles away and although primary education is free in Zambia, textbooks and uniforms for children are beyond many parents’ means. The teacher, Emmanuel, 28, does his best using the teaching workbooks provided by the ministry to instruct these youngsters of subsistence farmers and cattle herders. Until now this class didn’t have a radio. Each school day at 2:00 pm, 20 Grade 1 Hakalinda learners take their place. The Grade 1 children don’t seem to mind that they don’t have chairs, desks, a proper blackboard, or that their classroom is thatch and missing walls. Emmanuel isn’t actually a trained teacher. He’s what’s called a ‘mentor’ – a literate adult trained to use interactive radio instruction and to use radio as a teaching tool. Nonetheless, the children call him teacher, which makes him feel proud. Emmanuel was so thrilled to receive a Prime radio, saying that the radio would help him and the learners ‘so much’. Emmanuel is a volunteer and dreams of becoming a government school teacher. Serving as a mentor in the Taonga Market programme he says will give him knowledge, discipline and patience. Taonga lessons provide clear instructions to the teachers and pupils according to the Zambian national curriculum. The Taonga programmes are broadcast from the Jesuit-run Chikuni Mission Community Radio Station. With a footprint of 35 miles, it reaches all 11 community schools in the district, all of which are receiving our radios. Lifeline Energy has been providing radios to the Taonga Market programme for more than a decade. Were it not for communities who build classrooms, mentors and parents who volunteer their time and high-impact engaging radio school lessons, tens of thousands of Zambia children would miss out on an education. The Taonga learners thank you for your continued support of this unique educational initiative.
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