Empowering Zambians in the New England Area
The CTS Program is exclusively designed to meet five specific needs of ZANE’s adopted School; Chimwemwe Trust School.
These five pertinent needs of the School are: Lack of fulltime teaching staff, Lack of special provisions for the deaf & hard of hearing students; Lack of student meals at school; Lack of sports and health activities and a nominal iSchool program in operation.
In respect to the above needs, has ZANE created the CTS Program standing for Chimwemwe Trust School Program.
1. Chimwemwe Teacher Hiring/Retainment Initiative
CHALLENGE: Chimwemwe Trust School has no fixed steady income to pay teachers. Teachers are not on salaries but allowances, as income fluctuates monthly and the work is voluntary.
These inconsistent allowances (approximately $63) which go to house rentals are barely covering rent of a one roomed house (approximately $53/month). As a result, the school has a constant problem of retaining well-qualified teachers every term. This is a sad case because the school has the infrastructure and children willing to learn but no resident teachers.
Presently, Chimwemwe Trust School has only four teachers, three who are teaching all the grades (Grade1-Grade 9). This teacher-student ratio, approximately 1:117, is totally inadequate as it indicates there is 1 teacher for every 117 children. This unfortunate situation does not bode well especially for the innocent children who are not getting the best quality education that they deserve. Another concern is that these dedicated teachers, walk an average 12km (7 miles) to and from school Monday to Friday.
In the past, Chimwemwe Trust School had an In service Teacher Training Program; with the intent of upgrading some of the community teachers’ qualifications by sending them for Teacher training courses, with the help of some local churches and the community. However, this proved a failure, as once the community teachers got their Diplomas; they found it difficult to remain at Chimwemwe due to the fact that they were not being paid economical salaries, compared to their colleagues who worked at other schools.
SOLUTION: The Chimwemwe Teacher Hiring/Retainment Initiative is focused on recruiting more teachers and improving current teacher conditions. ZANE seeks help in hiring 4 new teachers by the end of 2012, and paying teacher salaries. With a salary, the teachers could improve their way of life, sustain their families and be able to afford to buy bicycles or use public transportation, to ease transportation problems. An average Zambian teacher with a Diploma earns $250/month in Lusaka. With the introduction of teacher salaries and contracts outlining specific time clauses stressing how long the teachers would have to work at Chimwemwe; the In Service Teacher Training Program can become invaluable and be one way the ZANE-CTS Overall Plan can be utilized, empowering vibrant young teachers from the community with higher level skills whilst benefiting the school with well-equipped teachers who have the experience and commitment to Chimwemwe. The ZANE-CTS Overall Plan outlines the overall implementation of ZANE’s programs and the outcomes they will derive out of Chimwemwe Trust School and Chimwemwe community.
Having a full time teaching staff at Chimwemwe is essential in meeting our stated goals.
2. Special Needs Program
CHALLENGE: Deaf and hard of hearing students are a unique part of Chimwemwe Trust School but unfortunately they face their own set of challenges. Chimwemwe does not offer junior secondary education for the deaf and hard of hearing, because the school only has one teacher of the deaf who is trained to teach primary education (Grade1-7). The only school for the deaf which offers secondary education in Lusaka is Munali High Secondary School, a prestigious school that is out of the reach of these vulnerable children due to its high cost and distance.
Consequently, most of the deaf and hard of hearing children fail to continue with their studies due to lack of sponsorship. This leads to some entering early marriages and forgetting about school altogether. In the recent years, Chimwemwe Trust School has managed to send six promising deaf pupils to Munali High Secondary School for Grade 8. Those who fail to attend Munali are either re-enrolled at Chimwemwe to repeat classes or are lost back into the community with no hope of furthering their education.
Another challenge facing the deaf and hard of hearing children is transportation mobilization to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka for regular health checkups such as general de-waxing and ear cleaning. The school depends on public buses to ferry the children to UTH, but it has since proven very expensive to hire a bus. Thus, Chimwemwe usually hires the UTH Audio/Vision team to visit the school, which is required once a year. It costs about $255.00 to hire the team. However, the school administration failed to meet that requirement in 2010, due to budget constraints.
The deaf and hard of hearing children are all taught in one classroom, irrespective of their age group, and this classroom is not sound proofed. Thus, the children are disturbed by background noise from other classrooms. The class also lacks significant numbers of visual aids, posters, sign language books, bright colors and computers.
The lack of resources greatly hampers their learning experience. The only success story of a deaf pupil, who was initially at Chimwemwe, is of one who is now a Teacher of the Deaf at Munali High Secondary School.
SOLUTION: Employment of more teachers of the deaf, and training of the current teacher of the deaf to teach junior secondary education (senior education in the long run), would help solve the school drop-out rates of these special needs children while giving them a more reliable and cheaper alternative to attend secondary school.
Zambia Institute for Special Education (ZISE), trains special education teachers, offering a 2 year full time Diploma course in Special Education that costs (approx. $640/yr.) and a 3 year Diploma program by Distance Learning at (approx. $860/yr.). Further education to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Zambia has course duration of 2 years.
Some of the deaf and hard of hearing children are able to develop hearing and speech abilities. Therefore they would need individual and group hearing aids. Sourcing of other resources such as speech trainers, audiometers, visual aids, software programs and computers will also be essential. Rather than hire the UTH Audio/Vision team to visit the school, which is recommended every 6 months, it will prove more cost effective in the long run for CTS to own a school van that can be utilized to transport the special needs children for regular health checkups. The school van will also help with other school activities. We seek to meet this need of a Van.
Sound-proofing of the deaf and hard of hearing classroom will tremendously help the children to learn and listen effectively in a well-balanced acoustic environment. Hearing aids amplify all sounds, and a sound proofed classroom that is carpeted will help the children develop their very limited residual hearing capacity, by blocking outside noise.
In the long term, the Special Needs Program could integrate parents of the deaf and hard of hearing children, by offering free sign language classes so that families are best able to communicate with one another. Those deaf and hard of hearing children who are inspired to teach and give back to the community can be encouraged to come back and teach at Chimwemwe.
3. Feeding Program
CHALLENGE: The children of Chimwemwe come from poverty stricken backgrounds and having meals is never certain. Consequently, hunger and malnutrition are rampant. The school administration has noticed that children have been coming late to school, as they are engaged in manual labor; enforced by guardians to guarantee having a meal at home.
Sadly, this has affected their concentration in class as their tiredness even causes them to sleep during class sessions. In addition, Grade 6 and 7 Deaf classes spend the whole day at school hungry, and do not have any meals to help stimulate their learning capabilities.
SOLUTION: Taking all this into account, ZANE has initiated a feeding program that will incorporate all the school children. By providing nutritious meals every school day; a full lunch and porridge at break times, this initiative will promote education and learning as the pupils will be well fed and be able to concentrate, making gains in their cognitive performance.
The feeding program is vital to the pupils overall health and wellbeing. Community involvement in the feeding program such as preparation and serving of meals, will be encouraged so as to raise the value of education in caretakers eyes. A feeding program will also assist in maintaining a high school attendance.
4. Revitalize Sports and Health Programs
CHALLENGE: There is not much that Chimwemwe’s school administration has been able to do with sports and health activities for the children. The only sports recreation that occurs is football and netball. Chimwemwe’s current school field is very tiny and in need of maintenance. In addition, the school lacks various sports equipment. Children’s health plays a critical role in their growth and development. It also increases their school performance. Diseases that are prevalent in the Chimwemwe community are HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Cholera, and Malnutrition. The school mostly works with widows (mothers of CTS children) offering psycho/social counseling and spiritual support.
However, there are not any health activities that are been done to educate the children, let alone medical checkups to know the state of their health and treat any diseases that they may be suffering from.
SOLUTION: Sports, health and wellness programs, will be revitalized at Chimwemwe Trust School.
The improved sports program will have a larger inventory of quality sports resources, a sports teacher, upgraded athletic field, more sports clubs and inter-school sport friendly competitions.
ZANE kick-started the new CTS sports program on March 10th, 2011, by donating some sports gear and equipment to the school. Items donated were:
15 orange top jerseys
22 soccer balls
14 orange vests
13 black shorts
6 training corner cones
15 pairs of yellow socks
6 training flat cones
1 soccer bag1 whistle
ZANE believes a healthy community equals a productive community; thus its promotion of a healthy Chimwemwe community. The demographic of the Chimwemwe community is of one which cannot afford basic healthcare. Even with 3 health clinics situated near Chimwemwe; Chazanga Health Centre (government-run), Bwafwano Health Centre (community run) and SOS (private clinic), these clinics are still out of reach of the people, due to the medical fees they charge. The ZANE-CTS Health Initiative will involve regular health checkups of the children, contraction of medical personnel to administer medications, and health awareness activities with the children. ZANE seeks partnership with credible organizations to make a much needed ‘Free Annual Health Clinic Project’ a reality in desperate communities like Chimwemwe that will involve both the school children and the whole community.
5. Enhance iSchool Program
CHALLENGE: The iSchool Program is an initiative of AfriConnect Development Company in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Zambia that provides eLearning (free on-line educational resources) mapped to the Zambian curriculum. Chimwemwe’s iSchool program has been in effect for 4 years now and the school currently has 10 computers; of which 8 notebooks were donated through the iSchool program.
These computers are outdated, inadequate and not in good condition. Even though all grade classes have access to the computers and the iSchool program, AfriConnect is only working with the Grade 1 class to introduce e-learning and other methodologies into their teaching.
SOLUTION: The iSchool Program needs more computers for more children to access the localized online material based on the Zambian context. All grades use the iSchool program and it has proved very beneficial in all areas of teaching as there are only four teachers and very limited school books.
In early 2011, ZANE through its partnership with Lexington Public Schools of Massachusetts has orchestrated a connection between Chimwemwe Trust School and Hastings Elementary School. Grade 5 pupils from both ends will be able to communicate and share learning experiences with one another. More ways of involving all grade classes will be pursued in the future. Such connections enrich pupils’ lives as they learn to appreciate the differences in their respective cultures. ZANE will continue to promote the iSchool program between CTS and various schools in America.
Long Term Projects
1. Building of A Science Laboratory
CHALLENGE: Even though Chimwemwe Trust School has substantial classroom infrastructure, it lacks an important school building; a science laboratory. Because the school has no science laboratory, it does not provide laboratory tests in class lessons, resulting in the pupils’ only learning theory. In today’s world, it is vital for the children of Chimwemwe not to just memorize scientific facts from textbooks but to have an emphasis of laboratory activities that are inquiry based and highlight problem solving skills, to create a level playing field with children from developed nations.
SOLUTION: ZANE and its well-wishers seek to build a Chimwemwe Trust School Science Laboratory.
2. Building of A Functioning School Library
CHALLENGE: What constitutes as a library at Chimwemwe Trust School is a minuscule closet barely containing two shelves. These shelves are inadequately stocked as reading books and other types of literature are scarce. Inevitably, pupils end up sharing what little books there are, if at all. This book famine is detrimental to the children of Chimwemwe’s learning skills, because their literacy levels are not as high as they should be. Books are necessary to develop a culture of learning that enables pupils to acquire knowledge and life skills; that will aid them to develop individually, be lifelong learners and critical thinkers, thus having the ability to function effectively in society.
Due to the shortage of staff and lack of funding, CTS does not have a school librarian.
Librarians are important in any school library setting, as they are in charge of classifying materials, and assist teachers through collaborations that promote information literacy, benefiting pupils and the school as a whole. This vital role librarians play, helps pupils seek information in a more productive way, supporting their learning capabilities, and promoting their joy of reading.
SOLUTION: ZANE intends to seek donations for the building of a Chimwemwe Trust School Library. This construction, which will occur in the foreseeable future, will be tied to associations with organizations, non-profits and individuals that are championing the cause of combating illiteracy. In the short term, CTS has offered an empty classroom that is never used as a startup library.
Having a school library, will foster a reading and information culture at Chimwemwe. With increased funding, the school will be able to accommodate hiring a school librarian.
As ZANE has adopted Chimwemwe Trust School, and now acts as the School’s Primary Partner, Chimwemwe is now the primary recipient of books donated through ‘The Literature For Zambia Book Project.’ The Literature for Zambia Book Project is a non-for-profit book project of ZANE.
By dispensing these donated books relevant to CTS, ZANE will ensure that the school library is well stocked and that all pupils will be free to explore reading, culminating in them becoming independent, motivated readers. Please note that ZANE intends to also source African published books.
Chimwemwe Trust School having a functioning library system, will greatly impact the community it is located in. There are very few libraries in Zambia; and these libraries are poorly funded, inadequately stocked and containing outdated materials. CTS’s library will potentially be accessible to the community; giving chance to other marginalized youth who are not enrolled, to be able to access literature.
This identifies with ZANE’s goal of being an advocate of literacy for all.
The children of Chimwemwe & ZANE sincerely thank you for your support.
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