July 20, 2016
There has been some amazing fundraising going on over the last few months to build new classrooms at Nayamba School - but for all of us at home in the UK, it can be hard to get a real understanding of the impact that the donations actually make, even though we regularly see photo updates on the website. However, last month, 10 local women were able to see for themselves what a difference the 100% Nayamba campaign has had, when they made their self-funded journey from Exminster to Chisamba in Zambia. The focus of the trip was promoting the teaching of reading. It was an amazing experience for everyone – but it wasn’t just the children and staff of Nayamba School who had rich learning experiences; all the women involved in the trip gained a new perspective. Find out what makes this project so special by reading their trip blogs below.
“Before our trip, I wondered if the price of my flight could have been used more effectively by way of a donation to the Nayamba Trust. I was wrong; everyone I met made me realise that you cannot underestimate the effect and buzz of our personal visits, and what this means to all those connected with Nayamba School.
“On a personal note, meeting my sponsored child, Costa, was very emotional, and an experience I will never forget. Spending time reading and chatting with Costa really put into context the opportunity that this support creates for him and his future.”
“Driving into the school felt like arriving at a very familiar place, seeing the building with the Nayamba butterfly representing new beginnings, hearing the children singing then turning to see this new construction of 6 classrooms nearly complete. The ‘goosebump’ moment was the realisation of what one community has done for another. One community has provided and is sustaining an improving school for 290 children; providing a free education, providing a daily food programme and funding the enthusiastic and engaging teachers.
“I had an overwhelming feeling of where compassion and kindness takes over all the chaos that is currently happening in the world. The similarities between Exminster Community Primary School and Nayamba School are huge – children are children and learning is learning wherever we are in the world. The motivation and engagement of children in both settings is clear, the ambitions and potential, and the inclusion of all the children is evident. It is the community that speaks loud and clear – the community within the schools and what one community has provided for another. It’s huge and it is overwhelming. I was expecting our trip to be an amazing experience. It was, but it was more than that. It’s not something that you walk away from, it’s something that gets under your skin and makes you re-evaluate. It made me ask the question ‘What’s next?’
“It is a difficult task to explain what the experience of teaching in Nayamba School was like – there is so much I could say. The school is an amazing place, where you can’t help but be infected by the hope and determination of all who are there. Teaching was a real pleasure in spite of the limited resources; the children were so delighted to do things that were new to them. Making the children laugh and having fun with them was probably the most rewarding experience I have had in my teaching career. The children in Nayamba have much tougher lives than the children I teach in the UK, but in many ways are more innocent and naïve. They were very easy to love.
“Children such as Kelvin, 15, who came in at break times to read through his work so that he could pass his tests. Despite being several years older than most of the children in his class, Kelvin is determined to achieve all he can at Nayamba. He was also the most delightful child, being extremely helpful when younger, bouncier members of the class needed a little reminder to behave!
“Another child who captured my heart is Frexive. He loves to read and regularly asked for help to understand words; he was so keen to read each and every book he could. He needed persuading to leave the classroom after one session, in order to have his food, but after I promised to bring the book outside with us, he agreed to eat! Seeing this child of 12 or 13 years reading anything he was offered with such absorption was delightful. The library at the school will be loved by all, but especially by Frexive! On our final day at the school, Frexive asked me for the Biff and Chip book we had read the day before. We went to get it and he read the book to his mother and baby brother with great pride. His determination to learn and resilience really impressed me and he deserves to achieve so much.
“Jefata is another boy of 12 in the same class as Frexive and Kelvin. I chatted to him while he made sure his two preschool age sisters ate the food provided by the food programme. I was touched by how he looked after these two little girls who had only just started at the preschool that week. He told me he has quite a walk to reach the school each day and I imagine that he possibly had to carry his sisters at times. His mother and father are both dead and it is Jefata’s 14-year-old sister who supports them by working on a farm. I realized that the chance that Nayamba School is giving children to allow them to get an education and therefore extend their future beyond farm work is so important.
“I have a great respect for the teachers working without most of the teaching resources I take for granted. I was concerned that they may not be comfortable with the English teachers working with their children, but I found them welcoming and supportive. They are clearly keen to develop as professionals and to offer the children the best education they can. It was a great partnership and I learned so much in return. Thank you Nayamba School!”
Sadie summed up how her understanding and involvement in Nayamba School has developed since she first became interested in the project a few years ago. Here is the ‘dictionary definition’ of what Nayamba School means to her:
Clarkes Concise Dictionary
Nayamba / ni-yam-buh /
‘A new beginning’
Past: A great school project, led by enthusiastic local Zambians, that has captured the hearts of good friends of mine; interesting film clips played at fundraising events;
Present: A vibrant school brimming with eager children and inspiring teachers; a safe haven for children to learn; to be the best they can; the chance for a brighter future; daily food programme for all children; growing pre-school; dinosaurs; new classrooms; teachers houses;
Future: Grades 8 and 9; hope; more teachers; more funding; fulfilled potential; return trips; new friendships; inspiration.
It’s captured my heart too.