Update from the Twitti School
by Krystele Chavez, Social Media Coordinator For several years, Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) has been working with Shelley O’Callaghan & the Friends for Zambia Society on the Twitti School project to extend educational opportunities in Lilayi, Zambia by providing funding to build the third and final classroom block at the Twitti School. Last year alone, as part of the project, CEF donated $12,000 to fill the rooms with furniture: desks, chairs, bookshelves and blackboards. The new three-classroom building has allowed an additional 150-200 children from the surrounding villages to attend school.
CEF founder, Robert Kent, sums up the importance of this global collaborative partnership:
"It’s truly amazing to think how taking a photograph can build a school in another country”.
We recently received an update on the Twitti School from Shelley O’ Callaghan. Her first impression of the new school was that it is beautiful, clean and well-maintained and that it was great to see how much the children loved and respected their school. The following is an excerpt from Shelley's most recent visit to the Twitti School in Zambia in May:
“There are always special moments on my visit. When I first arrived and walked into the preschool class, one little girl rushed up and hugged me and wouldn’t let go and just stayed by my side. Another day, I came across a girl sweeping the walkway. I told her what a good job she was doing keeping the school so clean and asked her whether her teacher had asked her to sweep the walkway. She said no, she was doing it on her own. She just wanted to keep the school clean. I was very impressed! This is a stark contrast to the villages where the children live, and lets us see what an important influence the school is having on their lives. As always, the sound of happy voices fills the air. I am welcomed back with open arms, and they are excited to meet a new friend from Canada, Barbara Klopfenstein. Barb spent her days talking with each of the scholarship students and going over their progress with their teachers. The children loved spending time with her in the library.
Most exciting was the introduction of the new headmaster, Mr. Hapaku. He has just recently retired after 17 years as a headmaster at schools in Lusaka. By complete coincidence, he had been a student of mine some 42 years ago at Namwala Secondary School. We are very pleased to have such an experienced educator as our new headmaster and expect great things of him. This was only his second week on the job at Twitti so I am sure he will have lots of ideas as he gets acclimatized. A former volunteer at the school from Canada, Matt Weaver, sent glasses with lights for all the grade 7s which will allow them to do their work at home where the students generally have no access to electricity. Thanks so much Matt and Seymours Glasses.
The most pressing need for the school right now is a second school bus. Barb and I went on two early morning pickups on the bus at 6am and the bus was completely over-crowded, with 60 children in spaces for 25. Nearly 200 children live an hour or more walk from the school and the bus transportation is essential for them. I heard pleas from teachers, parents, the PTA and Austin, the driver of our bus, “Please would it be possible to raise money in Canada for a second bus?” I said we would do our best, so that is our top priority. I had gone to Zambia with a focus on putting in place a meal program for the school. This is still something we are working towards. However, in talking over the details with all of the teachers, administration, PTA and the Board of Trustees, I found that there were still many details to be considered. The school has sent home a questionnaire to get a better understanding of what the parents want and what they realistically can afford. The Board of Trustees was adamant that a meal program would have to be available for all children. The Board and the PTA are going to spend more time working through the logistics and possible funding programs. We in Canada are going to wait until this further research and consultation is completed before proceeding with the construction of a kitchen.
Many thanks to all of you for your continuing support of the Twitti School.
Shelley O’Callaghan & the Friends for Zambia Society are still looking for donations to assist the school with a second bus. If you wish to donate, please donate online at www.friendsforzambia.org or send a cheque to Friends for Zambia Society at the address below:
3775 Edgemont Boulevard North Vancouver BC V7R 2P6
To support our educational, health or sustainability projects please view our stock photos on Getty and spread the word about the work we are doing. To read more about our past involvement with the Twitti School click here.