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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