We believe education can open the door to people’s futures. A high-quality education needs to be supported by the provision of relevant reading material and we are proud to partner with Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) to ensure community schools across Zambia have libraries which are well stocked with new, quality books.
Here, Cleo Muma, who works for ZOCS, tells us of how an engaging library can inspire children to learn and build their own futures.
Community schools are vital to Zambia – without them some 600,000 orphans and vulnerable children would have to walk up to 80km to reach their nearest government school. Government schools also require children to have a uniform which many families simply can’t afford. And so without community schools many of our country’s most vulnerable children risk missing out on an education and, with no books at home, may never experience the joy of books and reading.
One such school is the Rosa Mystica Open Community School, staffed by dedicated volunteer teachers. The school educates orphans and vulnerable children from the local community, many of whom live in slums. The school is oversubscribed and would love more space, but they would never turn a child away. Many of these children, unable to meet the cost of uniform at a government school, have now passed the age of admittance and, without a community school, would have nowhere to turn. With no schooling, children in Zambia can end up on the streets selling merchandise, often with their siblings on their backs, just to provide for their families.
The Rosa Mystica School gives children the opportunity to learn and build a brighter future for themselves and their community and the library, stocked with books from Book Aid International, is a real hub for learning and inspiration.
Every child using the library has their own dreams and aspirations, and the books Book Aid International sends are vital in helping them to fulfil their potential.
It is estimated there is just one book for every ten students in schools across Zambia, and many students still don’t have access to any at all.
You can hear directly from staff and students at Rosa Mystica Open Community School in this short film.