Livingstone and Lusaka are at the heart of our programs in Zambia. It was our Founder who introduced us to Cathy Chilambe, a remarkable educator, foster mother and Head of Linda Community School in Livingstone, the tourist capital of Zambia and a tourist destination renowned across Africa. Affectionately dubbed ‘Linda’, the school educates over 400 orphans, many of whom fend for themselves, living in improvised shelter without adults to care for them once the school day comes to an end.
Ducere provides salaries for all Linda teachers along with communication costs and materials. Linda Community School has become an education hub training teachers across the Southern District in the African Children’s Stories program, Science Circus Africa and the Read Out Loud Radio Program. Mosi-O-Tunya Radio Livingstone is the home of Read Out Loud.
Each Saturday, the program broadcasts mini-master classes, inspiring parents, teachers and children to write stories from their imagination and real life, and to share the stories of their elders. The Honourable Julia Gillard AC, Australia’s 27th Prime Minister and Chancellor of Ducere at the time, visited Linda Community School and also presented a radio segment. The children loved her visit, and she was enthralled by their vocal choruses, dance and science experiments. There was a moment during the Science Circus Africa presentation that the courage of the students took our breath away.
Mosi-O-Tunya has a special meaning for those who live in Livingstone. As you fly into the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport from any direction it looks like smoke is rising from the river valley. It is the mist rising from the Victoria Falls, which are largest falls in the world.
One of the most memorable times at Linda was the day approximately three thousand items of school uniform and hundreds of bottles of Aesop products were delivered. The uniforms were a gift from the King David School in Melbourne Australia. The children were so excited to shed the clothes they were wearing and to step into new trousers, dresses, sports gear, hats, shirts, shorts and blazers. In a matter of hours, over 400 children were wearing their own Linda uniforms, proud and delighted.
Chilanga Primary School, on the outskirts of Lusaka, was the second location where we worked in Zambia, also rich with indelible experiences. Under the leadership of Principal Kenneth Muleya, the school has hosted story writing and story-telling master classes, with the book launches reflecting the children’s talent, creativity and pride. They too were visited by Ms Gillard as part of our program.
The Zambian program relies on our partnerships and their passionate teachers and learners. The Ministry of Education has actively supported the publication of five Zambian African Children’s Stories collections, written by children around and beyond Livingstone, Lusaka and Choma.
Most of the children involved in the program have moved on to higher grades. This keenness to learn and to help one another was beautifully expressed by Joyce Maposa in her story, when she wrote:
It is important to encourage our friends to study hard and be the best that they can be.