This inspirational school proves what can be done with dedicated staff and eager students despite limited resources. ‘Nekacheya’ is a Tonga word that means ‘although small.’ Opened in 2008 with a single child (hence the name), it has grown to 300. Provision is made for those from pre-school through to Grade 7 (approximately aged 12/13). The children come from a wide variety of backgrounds and, indeed, tribes (and, therefore, first languages). As in all Zambian schools, classes are taught in English. A grade may contain students over a three year age range with a huge difference in ability because some may join who have not previously had the benefit of such a school. The focus is on literacy and numeracy and in that context the Zambian curriculum is followed with a view to ensuring the children pass their exams to qualify for a secondary school.
Zambezi Sunrise has invested heavily in books at this school. We are particularly proud to be able to say that we understand that Nekacheya is now the only school in the region in which in five year groups every child has their own textbook in each of the core subjects. This is in complete contrast to the ‘normal’ situation in which only a teacher usually has access to a textbook and the pupils have to spend an inordinate amount of time copying the content from a blackboard. This has greatly facilitated the ability of teachers to improve the learning of pupils. Literacy has also been enhanced by the provision of class sets of reading books. Further, Zambezi Sunrise pays the annual subscription that secures the school access to donations of books from Book Aid International.
Zambezi Sunrise has also provided computers and been instrumental in the setting up of an IT room at the school. These not only assist with learning – one of our trustees has helped move the administration of the school from a handwritten system onto the computers which will greatly increase the efficiency of the school administration going forward.
We are pleased to say that with the provision of further whiteboards every class in the school now has a whiteboard – something that cuts down on the dust in extremely crowded classrooms.
Zambezi Sunrise have been delighted to cooperate with our friends at Sonskyn in Belgium who have also supported Nekacheya for several years. We have also been able to coordinate support from ex volunteer teachers from around the world to further help the school after their return home.
We are also very pleased to have faciltated a school twinning between Nekacheya and Shotley Bridge Primary School in England. As well as exchanging letters and artwork with Nekacheya, Shotley Bridge has fundraised and transformed the library provision there.