How We Built a School in Zambia
How does Aid Africa’s Children and Ryan Moore, a 26 year old man from Lincolnshire, Illinois build a government endorsed school in Zambia for 1/3 less than the average government school in a timely manner? It certainly takes determination, patience, and a lot of hard work to deal with cultural differences, local business practices, and the practical problems dealing in remote African areas, but Aid Africa’s Children has found to be successful, the need to create cooperation is imperative. Most of all, having a local and trusted presence fluent in the native African dialect and willing to go to the source to understand and accomplish the needs of people we help, distinguishes Aid Africa’s Children’s projects from other charities.
One of the ways Aid Africa’s Children, helps vulnerable children in devastated African communities affected by AIDS and poverty is by providing tools for empowerment through education. In Fall, 2008, with the tireless dedication of Ryan Moore, a Peace Corp Volunteer stationed in Zambia, an experience construction company, and the community effort of several villages, Aid Africa’s children started the construction of a school. The dream of a school for 119 children in Matushi, a remote rural region in NW Zambia was about to become a reality. The story of this school is instructive in the ways Aid Africa’s Children has learned to help these and other wonderful children who, without outside assistance might only perpetuate their vicious cycle of poverty.
Ryan knew his time and resources in Zambia were limited and was determined to learn what he could do to make a difference in their lives. He spent time researching and questioning villagers he became friendly with, the area tribal heads men he dealt with and learned about their needs, and their fervent desire to build a school for their children.
The dream of a school with four walls and a ceiling to educate their children was something these villagers understood their young Zambian children lacked and needed. Their “school” was among the trees and rocks where children gathered. There was nowhere to teach during the long rainy season. The long treks to the closest school were far too taxing for most of these young children to endure on a daily basis. Understanding their needs and with a sense of urgency, Ryan enlisted the help of Aid Africa’s Children and now the villagers’ vision of a school for 119 children and generations to come, is becoming a reality.
Ryan is Aid Africa’s Children’s, "Man in Zambia," together we have successfully begun building the school. While this is not an easy task, and complicated by cultural differences, this project has required methodical planning. Ryan has alreadysecured the property to build the school with the approval of tribal leaders and headsmen. He obtained multiple bids before negotiating with vendors and the final contractor drastically reducing construction costs. After meetings with school and government officials, calculations were assured to meet government code standards for building the school. Materials were carefully sourced for building materials and supplies. Ryan oversaw the development and construction of the school. This building is now a code approved school endorsed by the Zambian government.
To keep construction costs down the villagers are working under the direction of a local construction company with a successful track record of building schools in Zambia. The school building will be 82’ long by 24’ feet wide, fully enclosed, and able to educate the 119 children from surrounding villages. As a show of great community support, the local headsmen have received permission from the area tribal chief to donate to the Zambia School Board, a large piece of land for the proposed secondary school and a future high school in this area. Teachers will begin teaching as soon as the building is constructed. The school will have concrete floors and brick walls. The school district has applied to the government for desks, chalkboards, and paint. The Kamisombo School is expected to open in 2009.
This Aid Africa’s Children project is truly a community effort, supported by the local and state governments, one in which each participant and donor can be proud of how commitment and limited resources can be used to create infinite possibilities.