July 03, 2020
We had a fantastic time during our visit to Nayamba School last week! OK, it was a ‘virtual’ visit (via Zoom) but it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to the teachers about the school. In these strange times of isolation and disconnection, it was quite breath-taking to be able to have live video conversations with teachers in rural Zambia. In fact, the only hiccup in the whole 45 minute ‘visit’ was when a rather nosy donkey tried to photo-bomb the conversation (at the Nayamba end, obviously)!
As a teacher myself, I was in awe of the skills, dedication, and passion shown by the staff at Nayamba. They are very proud to be part of such an inspirational school and they were bursting to explain why…
Teacher Ruben: “At Nayamba, we believe that every child is unique and has potential. We reach out to every child, no matter what their background is or whether they have disabilities, and we differentiate our lessons so that we meet the needs of each child. This doesn’t happen in Government schools.”
Headteacher Sera: “We have excellent professional development opportunities for teachers, and we are so thankful for the support we have received from our links with the UK. As well as academic training we have also been able to develop health education through campaigns such as the Monthly Bags, Men’s Health Workshops and the health-screening programme. This has had a really positive effect on the entire local community.”
Teacher Arnold: “The daily food programme has made a life-changing difference to many children at Nayamba, and it is something which doesn’t happen at the Government schools in Zambia. The feeding programme gives our children vital nutrients so that they can focus in school. Zambia has big problem with malnutrition in children, which often results in stunted growth because they lack nutrients.”
But despite all these life-changing opportunities offered by Nayamba school, there are huge challenges on the horizon. The global threat of Covid-19 has meant that essential funding for the food programme and for staffing is uncertain. Sera explained that the loss of the school would be devastating for the whole area. “Nayamba offers so much to this community,” she told us. “When children access learning through our school, they have it for the rest of their lives. Most parents are not very educated so if Nayamba School was not here, their children couldn’t access any education; I can’t imagine how much negative impact this would have.”
Director and founder of Nayamba School, Anja, believes the school is more than an educational establishment – it is a lifeline to the region. When the school had to close for five weeks recently, due to the nationwide Covid lockdown, a Year 2 girl died. She lived in the forest area (a two-hour walk from the school) and she contracted malaria. The girl’s family could not access a doctor, nor could they afford the £3 price of the necessary medication to help her. Anja believes that if the school had been open, the staff would have noticed the child’s high temperature and would therefore have been able to help her access medical help.
Nayamba has now reopened and is following social distancing measures by teaching pupils in small groups of 15 (a similar approach to British schools). Despite the pandemic and the pressing economic situation, everyone who is a part of this school is determined to continue its incredible work. If you would like to watch part of the ‘visit’ to Nayamba, check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/watch/NayambaSchool/
We always welcome support for Nayamba and there are many ways that you can become Get Crafty for Nayamba, was suggested by Ally, a previous trip volunteer. Whether you can knit or sew, make cakes or grow seeds, draw or paint we'd love to harness your creativity by making things to sell or by persuading people to sponsor you (perhaps to learn a new craft, for example). You can donate on our Virgin Giving page: http://virginmoneygiving.com/fund/crafty