From Street Child to Science Teacher

Kunda Benson teaching at the Friends of Street Children (FSC) shelter for boys at Kawama

We have written about Kunda before. He came to the FSC as a street child.

For many street children getting back into mainstream education after months, or years of living rough is very difficult. To find the grit to catch up, slog through year after year of exams, moving up through the school system, and into higher education requires imagination and determination. Kunda did not find it easy, but succeeded and qualified as a teacher. Throughout this long progress, he had always said that he wanted to help other homeless children. While waiting for a post in the Zambian national education system, he is teaching at FSC. As an ex street child he is an inspiration.

Zambia has many dialects, including 7 major languages. Kunda writes on the black board in English, but the class is taught in Bemba, which all the boys understand, even if their mother tongue is different: quite a challenge though.

The aim is to get the street children in the class up to a level at which they can rejoin mainstream education. Should they achieve this, the cost of sending a child to school are 2000 kwatcha ( £65 at the time of writing) per child, per year. The cost of children attending primary school is half this. A uniform costing £12 will also have to be found for each child. Uniforms are passed down, but eventually they wear out.

Depending on the exchange rate, Kunda’s 3 year teacher training course cost about £370 a year. This was paid thanks to the generosity of Romilly’s supporters and donors. There are currently a number of children at the shelter who have the ability and determination to enter higher academic or vocational education, but cannot do so for lack of funds. Most courses could be paid for with a donation of £30 pounds a month. These children have had a very rough start and helping Kunda has been very rewarding.

For the time being, thanks to the generosity of Romilly’s donors her charity has also been able to cover the FSC staff salaries, a total of £800 – £1000 a month.

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Romilly helps street children to help themselves

Following the success of the first fish pond at the Naivasha Children’s Shelter (see February 19th’s post) Romilly is sending 4625 euros  to pay for a second fish pond and two green houses.

The charity is also paying for the repair of the borehole and the replacement of the pump at the Kawama shelter in Kitwe. Once the borehole is working order, Romilly, will contribute £5000 to the £12000 cost of a consultancy study by the group ‘Teach a Man to Fish’.

The Kitwe project needs to be more sustainable in order to be able to continue its excellent work, that is to say that it needs to grow more food, provide more of it’s own income, and raise more money locally. The aim of the study by ‘Teach a Man to Fish’ is to identify ways of doing this and to help FSC of Kitwe write a business plan.  £12000 does not sound a great deal for this kind of a study, but ‘Teach a Man to Fish’ is a charitable group.