In Zambia the school year runs from January to . . .
. . . December. However, for the pupils who sat for their Certificate of Junior Secondary Exams in the previous November, otherwise known as the Grade 9 exams, the new school year starts in February. It is the results of these exams that decide if a child will go onto Senior Secondary Education but the successful pupils have little choice about which school they will attend. Regardless of a family’s location or financial circumstances the better schools will cherry-pick the higher scoring pupils. If a pupil’s family cannot afford the fees and other expenses he or she can apply to the local secondary school but, with just two serving around twenty five feeder schools, places are limited.
Often the local secondary school is too far from a pupil’s village for them to be able to walk to cycle to daily and this means that they must go to a boarding school or give up any ideas of an education.
Secondary Education is not free and school fees, travel costs, uniform and stationery are usually beyond the means of most families in an area where subsistence farming is the norm. Many children are orphans and live with their extended family and it is a sad fact that they're often last in the queue when it comes to school fees. For all these children sponsorship is their only chance of getting an education and during the first two months of the year we see large queues of kids at the office door . . . and every child will be desperate for help.
At Project Luangwa we run a one to one sponsorship scheme – a sponsor can choose the child they wish to sponsor on our website sponsorship page
. Throughout the year the sponsor will receive school reports and letters from the child and we welcome their letters in return if sponsors wish to write back. We send everything via email and your address remains private.
So far this year we have sponsors for around 100 kids but there are still a few left who need help and you can see them on our ‘Meet the kids who need help’ page
. There is more information on the scheme here
and a downloadable handbook about being a sponsor here.