Sunday, 12 June 2016

A Perfect Partnership: working with the youth of Zambia

On a fateful day back in March, Kitwe’s Book Bus George met a special group of people at the Youth Day Exhibition at Copperbelt University. Like the Book Bus, the Piggy Bank Campaign—run by students at the university—was working towards aiding literacy and education in local school and communities. So wouldn’t it make sense for the two initiatives to work together?

Zambian Youth Day exhibition
“They had people, we had resources,” Monica Mulenga, Book Bus Country Director in Zambia explains. And thus a perfect match was made.

Fuelled by the mantra, ‘Your change can change lives’, the youth-run Piggy Bank Campaign raises funds to send Copperbelt University students to small underprivileged schools in the area. With them, the students bring their own laptops and a wealth of knowledge—IT skills, maths, engineering, economics, biology—to aid teachers in the classroom. Similarly, the Book Bus program in Kitwe relies on local volunteer power to visit schools Monday to Friday, reading and running arts and craft activities for the kids.

“The Book Bus has books, our bus George, and plenty of materials, but needs more people,” Monica elaborates. “Piggy Bank has plenty of students willing to volunteer, but lacks resources. So we work together to bring extra help and resources to the schools and communities.”

Piggy Bank Youth Group help with Book Bus reading sessions
In the first four weeks of working together, the partnership blossomed, engaging school kids in fun and educational activities every Friday. “We played games, danced to various songs and most important of all, read for and with the children. Parents and teachers took part in these activities too!” says Bwalya Caroline Chimba, Book Bus Kitwe Reading Coordinator.

The partnership has other benefits too. While the Piggy Bank initiative currently only has the capacity to visit schools on Friday, the Book Bus provides an extra opportunity for willing students to come help at schools on any weekday.

As well as providing support to teachers in classrooms, the Piggy Bank team also use their volunteer power to build community schools and classrooms in small villages.

Celebrating a perfect partnership 
“Education is the biggest weapon one can use to fight poverty. It is the silver bullet that both empowers the citizens and develops the country,” 

No-one can argue with that...