Posted January 17, 2018 by HNGR
Tags: Elementary Education Teaching Zambia
How can you teach without crayons or enough books for each student? This was a question that crossed my mind as I met the teachers and students at Musonda Community School. After finishing a semester of student teaching in the Chicago suburbs, I had in my mind a specific picture of what education should look like, with overflowing libraries and endless worksheets for each student. Musonda School, by contrast, provided me with an image of fewer material resources, where teachers only have creativity and a chalkboard to teach their students what they must. However, the teachers show an incredible desire to provide a strong education for their students despite obstacles, and this internship is transforming my vision of education for the better.
I am the 6th HNGR intern at Partners for Life Advancement and Education Promotion (PLAEP) in Kitwe, Zambia. Our organization first started with a focus on HIV awareness and prevention, because this is a major issue among Zambian youth. However, as PLAEP continued to expand, the staff realized there is no one direct path to eradicate HIV in the local area, just as there is no set formula for erasing poverty. Mrs. Kambole, founder and executive director of PLAEP, affirms that our organization is working to improve all areas of life for the people around us, because poverty is a holistic issue. As a result, PLAEP is now responsible for many expanding projects: HIV education and testing, lendings and savings groups, supporting community schools, and social enterprises to increase income for community members.
While there is no one easy fix to solve poverty, my internship has showed me how education is the foundation for every other facet of life. Health education helps adolescents understand the importance of HIV prevention. Literacy allows women to track how much money they have saved in our community lending and savings groups. The completion of primary school provides children with opportunities for further education and steady careers. Skills training empowers members of the community to earn money by making jewelry or selling cassava with our social enterprises. Knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is embedded into each program, that each community member may be transformed by their hope. In each of our PLAEP projects, education is crucial to the continued development of the community.
My role as an intern at PLAEP has involved working with teachers and students at Musonda Community School, while my relationships with the people in Zambia provide me with my own education. I am challenged to become a better sister and friend by living with my host family, and I am encouraged in my Christian faith by my Zambian brothers and sisters. Nelson Mandela once proclaimed, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Students’ lives are improving through their education, but even their schooling won’t drastically change this part of the world. My hope and prayer is that Musonda School ultimately points students to Jesus Christ as Savior, which is truly life-changing education.
--Hayley Rost (HNGR 2017)