Unicef estimates that there are 1.2 million orphans under 15 years of age living in Zambia, and 800,000 of those orphans are affected by HIV and AIDS. A third of children in Zambia lose one or both parents before they reach adulthood, with 19% of orphans losing both their mother and father. Orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS are considered to be vulnerable children. A child may also be considered vulnerable because their household is incapable of generating adequate income, providing the care or protection that guardians provide, or have high levels of domestic violence, unemployment, or substance abuse.
Because of the large number of vulnerable and orphaned children in Zambia, there is a dire need for them to receive an education to overcome the obstacles in their lives. Therefore, the CCAP Synod of Zambia created the Community School Department in order to address the presence of vulnerable and orphaned children in CCAP congregations. The Community School Department oversees the CCAP Synod of Zambia’s community schools (schools specifically meant to help vulnerable and orphaned children receive an education), and educates children who would not have otherwise gone to school due to financial constraints. The Synod originally opened daycare centers with feeding programs in 2001 to serve poor communities. Since 2004, these daycare centers have transformed into community schools, and now there are over 30 community schools that serve 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children under the ministries of CCAP congregations.
The Community Schools Department plans on not only continuing giving vulnerable and orphaned children an education but also plans on expanding resilience training programs. Resilience training in community schools began in 2012 thanks to the efforts of American child psychologist Dr. Robert Beilke, and provides children the counseling, encouragement, and attention they need to succeed in school despite having many social, financial, and emotional challenges. The training ultimately encourages children to talk about the emotional trauma they have experienced in their lives whether it’s experiencing extreme poverty, witnessing domestic abuse, or grieving a lost parent or relative. Since 2012, the community school volunteer teachers have also received annual teacher training in order to implement the most effective interactive teaching methodologies from Mrs. Machelle Beilke, an American primary school principal. Mrs. Beilke has spent extensive time mentoring Community School Coordinator Mabuchi Ndhlovu in these approaches in order for her to monitor and assess the teachers.
The department would also like to start feeding programs in their schools that would provide children with breakfast or lunch as well as have income-generating activities for each school. Teacher turnover at the community schools is high because teachers receive little to no financial incentive for their work. As a result, Mabuchi Ndhlovu has prioritized income generation and has asked each school to develop an income generating activity. Income-generating activities, such as selling items at a tuck shop or building a car park that would charge vehicle owners, would help the schools address issues like lack of desks, proper infrastructure, teaching materials, and teacher’s stipends. Ultimately, the Community School Department has helped serve vulnerable and orphaned children in need of an education, providing them with the means to rise above their circumstances and thrive.
“I am in grade 2 at Mtendere CCAP Community School in Lusaka, Zambia. I started my grade 2 in 2009 with the help of the school caregivers who went around in our compound, Kalilikiki. It is 1 kilometer to the school. I am an only child staying with my mother and grandmother in a rented one-room house. My father died when I was very young. My mother and I are living positive with HIV/AIDS, and we are on ARVs at Mtendere clinic. Our source of living is through my elderly grandmother who does piece work, sweeping the surroundings of the bars at Mtendere market. When mother feels a bit well, she goes around to people’s homes, washing clothes in order to pay rent and buy food. Many times, we have one meal a day. My school fees are covered by the CCAP school. I like school because I meet friends and teachers, and we play netball. When I grow up, I want to be a teacher so I can come and help orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.”
- Anna Kausen, 11 years old
Status: The Community School Department is currently receiving funds to support administrative work of the department.
Community School Teacher Training
Community School Department Coordinator Mabuchi Ndhlovu organizes Community School Teacher Training Workshops in order to support and encourage the volunteer teachers working in CCAP community schools. These workshops include information on how to use the Ministry of Education curriculum, devise a lesson plan, and better support their students and their schools..
CCAP Community Schools
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