A country in the heart of Africa, famous for its wildlife and natural beauty, including the Victoria Falls and the Zambezi river. A country whose people are charming and incredibly welcoming, BUT a country that is still:

Ravaged by regular natural disasters, such as wet season floods, which, at their peak, wash whole villages away.
Devastated by the AIDS / HIV epidemic.
Strangled by poverty – 64% of Zambians subsist on less than $1 equivalent per day.
Growing economically but not fast enough to cope with poverty.

Zambia – its people …

Life expectancy is short, averaging 37yrs.
20% of children are AIDS / HIV orphans, an estimated 630,000 in total.
30,000 children born each year are HIV +ve.

Mortality rate of children under five is 182 per 1000 (nearly one in every five compared to less than 10 per 1000 in the UK).
800,000 children default on school due to AIDS / HIV, poverty or the chronic need to care for ailing parents or their own siblings.

Zambia – its schooling

typical-schoolroom2 (45K)

Demand for schooling is high among Zambian children, but state educational support is only available for 40% of children and even then is not entirely free, leaving churches and charities to pick up the balance of need as best they can.
Education is free for pupils in primary schools and although not compulsory, there is an expectation that they supply their own stationery and uniforms, which at current costs is about $60 a year. At secondary level, the provision of these items and fees is compulsory, at a cost of about $140 per year.
There is a chronic underfunding of capital expenditure on school buildings resulting in poor facilities and overcrowding.
Even where buildings and teachers are in place, the basics of education, that we take for granted – paper, pencils, exercise books and basic text books, in too many cases, are all sadly lacking, especially where parents’ are unable to meet the costs described above.

Zambia – in perspective

Image courtesy of Cecily’s fund

The above facts paint a daunting picture, with AIDS a destructive force that cuts across all aspects of life in Zambia. It adversely affects childrens’ abiliity to attend school and even impacts on the teachers, as many are cut down in their prime by the disease. However, there is hope. A direct correlation has been seen between children who have received an education and a reduction in the incidence of AIDS later in life. The World Bank has noted “A good basic education ranks among the most effective and cost effective means of HIV prevention”.

“This image is typical of many Zambian families with key members lost to AIDS. But there is hope, as in each sunrise, that through grandma’s support and the work of the Trust, her grandchild may receive the education so vital to her future.”

Zambia – the future

If, as stated by the World Bank, education is so important, the lack of resources in Zambia, as highlighted by Operation Sunshine appears to be a blight on the country. Through the established links of Operation Sunshine in Zambia, the Trust researched the educational needs of the children and found that although most lacked the material resources to succeed in school, most wanted to be educated to help themselves and their families. It is fact that in Zambia, an educated person could expect to earn 10% more through their lifetime, for each year in which they attended school.

Educational support was what children in Zambia needed and so the idea of School Aid 4 Zambia had been born, a programme of support that could see Zambian children fulfil their educational potential with all the benefits that would derive from this.

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