Linda Community School

Linda is a very disadvantaged area of Livingstone and this school now caters for 720 of its most vulnerable children. When Zambezi Sunrise Trust became involved with the school it had 470 primary school children and faced the threat of closure. Having built a primary school for them, we are now expanding the school to include a secondary school and a pre-school. The children are selected by the community on the basis of their vulnerability – many are orphans and others have no means of support. If this school did not exist, most of these children would not be able to attend school at all. Many of the children live in homes that are not weatherproof and lack running water and electricity.  Each day, many pupils walk for over an hour to reach the school, often in extremely hot or wet weather. Donors provide everything from paper, pens and books to uniforms – many of the children are proud to have a uniform, but they don’t match. 

Until we became involved the school was housed in a dilapidated old community centre, the majority of the school (several classes) being housed in one noisy room. The feeding programme was run from an open air kitchen with very limited facilities. Until Zambezi Sunrise became involved, there were two toilets for nearly 500 people and the school faced the constant threat of closure because of the potential risk of cholera and other diseases.  

Fortunately, public land became available nearby and Zambezi Sunrise was instrumental in securing its transfer to the school.  

Two ablution blocks have now been constructed, with toilets for boys and girls. There is a shower for older girls to ensure that they are able to attend school without interruption.  

A kitchen shelter has been constructed that means cooking can now take place in all weathers. 

A total of twelve classrooms have now been built – one for each year group (Grade) in the Zambian school system. 

The first completed classroom was opened by the United Kingdom Deputy High Commissioner to Zambia, and a pupil of the school, in March 2018. The block it is in comprises three classrooms, a library room and office.  

Another two classroom block followed. Our fourth classroom, the ‘Commonwealth Room’ was opened by the Secretary – General of the Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland of Asthal Q.C., in April 2019 in the presence of the U.K. High Commissioner and legal dignitaries from around the Commonwealth. It was funded by the 2019 Commo A nwealth Law Conference. The adjoining fifth classroom was funded by an appeal to U.K. lawyers. 

A further two classroom block was built in 2019, funded by donations from Ireland. This gave us seven classrooms – one for each of the primary school grades – and meant that the entire school could be moved from its original site.

Children who completed the primary school grades, however, faced the same problems when it came to going on to a secondary school. It was agreed with the Ministry of Education that we would expand the school to become a secondary school, greatly enhancing the life chances of the children who could now stay on. To this end we have built a further five classrooms, one for each secondary grade, and the Zambian government has pledged the allocation of ten teachers to cover the secondary level subjects. 

Our first Grade 8 began in 2020, and a two classroom block was built for them in 2022 (delayed by the Covid pandemic). One was sponsored by Sonskyn (Belgium) and the other by a donation from Make Kids Happy (Germany) and our ‘Classroom For Christmas’ fundraiser. 

2023 shaw the opening of another three classroom block, for the final three year groups. The Grade 10 classroom was funded by donations from a donor in the United States of America, with the other two by our general funds. This block also includes an administration office for the head teacher.

Each of the classrooms is equipped with a whiteboard and we are proud to say that each child is seated at a desk. Textbooks are also provided in each subject to the children – in may cases each child has a textbook in each subject. The ratio of books to children is far better than in most schools in Zambia. 

To end the school’s reliance on the intermittent mains water supply, and lower utility bills, a bore hole was drilled and hand pump installed. This was later supplemented by the construction of a water tower and 5,000 litre water tank. This now provides the school’s drinking water, food for cooking, as well as water to irrigate the vegetable garden which supplements the school’s feeding programme. 

Together with True Thabo (an American non profit organisation) we have jointly presented a water purifier system to the new site to ensure that the pupils and staff have access to pure water. 

As part of our establishment of a library for the school, Zambezi Sunrise pays the annual subscription that secures periodic grants of reading books from Lusaka from Book Aid International.  

Zambezi Sunrise are delighted to have established links for Linda with a number of schools outside Zambia. We initially ‘twinned’ Linda Community School with Cramlington Village Primary School in the United Kingdom. As well as sharing exchanges of letters, video link greetings and artwork, the pupils and staff at Cramlington have raised funds to support our classroom building project and have ‘adopted’ one of the new classrooms. Another classroom has been adopted by Durham School and their junior schools, The Chorister School and Bow. They have also made a very significant uniform donation and held a variety of fundraising efforts to help us. Hesleden Primary School have provided books (the initial core of the school library) and uniform donations, as well as fundraising. Dr Thomlinson’s Church of England Middle School in Rothbury have also fundraised to help us. Stobhillgate First School in Morpeth have also made a very large uniform donation to assist us. New End Primary School in Hampstead, London, have also made a uniform donation. All of these schools have enjoyed letter exchanges and video links with Linda. In Australia, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Primary School in Randwick, New South Wales raised money that has helped fund the construction of new desks.

Please keep visiting our website ‘news’ section for updates: work is progressing as quickly as donations allow.