Education in Zambia is free until the end of grade 7, but from grade 8 school fees are due. This is when pupils start to drop out of school as their parents or guardians simply cannot afford to educate them. The costs of education are not only related to tuition fees but also include money for uniforms, shoes, socks, exercise books, pens and pencils. In addition, as pupils progress through the grades they start needing additional school supplies such as mathematics sets and scientific calculators and all this is beyond the financial means of most rural Zambian families whose survival is based on subsistence farming.
Around a quarter of school children in rural Zambia are orphans and the majority are cared for by their extended families. However, these relatives are often already struggling to educate their own children and cannot afford to send an extra child to school. In this regard, the children who are accepted onto our sponsorship program are usually orphans or classed as vulnerable. Some have parents who are too ill to work which makes it extremely difficult for them to provide an income as well as food for the family. In other words, without your sponsorship these young people would not be able to attend a secondary school.
What can be said of every child is that each one craves an education and is acutely aware that their only chance of a future without poverty lies within the classroom. These children are desperate to learn and it’s heartbreaking to see them hanging around schools knowing that without external help they may never have a chance to attend.
We work closely with Project Luangwa who take the time to check out a pupil’s background and school reports. Your sponsorship money is directly spent on the pupil- it does not go into a general village program or into the expensive overhead costs. Project Luangwa keeps you well informed by sending school reports, so you know how your chosen pupil is progressing and your pupil is encouraged to write to you. But your support is not just about money; a sponsored child knows that someone, somewhere in the world, cares about them and their well-being.
Sponsorship starts at the beginning of the school year (in Zambia that’s in January). The hopeful pupils will start to apply as soon as their previous exam results are published – around Christmas time for the younger children and late January for the grade 9 pupils. On the web page you can find information about each individual student and choose a student to sponsor. Livingstone Foundation for Africa works closely with Project Luangwa so that our students graduating from Kapita School will have a chance to continue their studies on to secondary school despite their precarious situations.