Primary School Rehabilitation

  • Community Growth
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Zambia
This project is led by Courtney Cano, a Volunteer from Vermont

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This project is a rehabilitation of the local primary school, with the objective of bringing the school to full working order, whereby each classroom and block can be used to its full potential again. In short, this project will redo the chalkboards in every class, the floors in grades 1-7, and the windows in grades 1-7. The community has organized a committee that has already began making bricks, collecting dambo sand, and crushing stones. Community members will be contributing labor, time, and basic materials. After completion, the school will finally have a classroom that is usable for every grade, as opposed to its current state with destroyed floors, unusable chalkboards, and holes in the walls as make-shift windows. The school serves twenty-two villages from an area as far as 6 km away now. The teaching days have been extended to circumnavigate the issue of several unusable classrooms, resulting in grades 5-9 being taught in the morning, and grades 1-4 in the afternoon. As a result, teachers work all day, every day, with little time left (or rather no time) for sports or clubs. The priority for the community, then, is to rehabilitate this school so that all of the classrooms are usable and functioning, thereby freeing up time and resources for the students' extracurricular development in the afternoons. The community knows that education takes place not just inside the classroom during standard lessons, but outside, with clubs, during sports or in the one-on-one capacity building with teachers. However, up until now, local teachers have been unable to facilitate this important kind of learning. The priority then for the community, is to make this possible by rehabilitating the school. The school has the foundational infrastructure that it requires to meet its needs; however, for many years, it has been doing patch up jobs that have only scratched the surface at the rehabilitation it actually needs. This project aims to once and for all complete the restoration, so that the school can focus on growth and sustainability instead of continual band-aid like work projects that pull much needed attention and resources away from its students.

The school has a very active and involved PTA; every few weeks they meet at the school to address issues, comments, or concerns with the teaching staff. It was during one of these meetings in term one that they brought the idea of a school rehabilitation project to my attention. Over the next several months they organized a works committee to work out the details of what they wanted out of this project and they even brought several potential brick layers, carpenters and general workers to meet with me and them about how they could go about doing everything. Over the course of several meetings, myself and the work committee canvased at the school and made a plan for what we would do and what resources were needed on a classroom level. After this initial planning, the work committee met with the headman of the 22-village catchment and discussed our plan, got approval, and requested that bricks and raw materials be made and acquired.

The aim of this project is to restore and rehabilitate each of the nine classrooms within the school. As of now, there is not enough monetary or physical resources to do this, so any work on the classrooms thus far has been surface level fixtures that are only sustainable for a year or two. By completing this project, a deep foundational restoration will be done, therefore freeing up resources and labor for other developmental projects like computer labs, or libraries, while also doing work that will last much longer than one or two years. Any work that would need to be done in the future on any of the nine classrooms would be manageable and not overwhelming, because fixing one chalkboard, for example, is much more feasible then fixing nine. The secondary aim of this project is also to give the students, teachers, and community some accountability and ownership over their school. By pouring all of this labor and raw materials into it, the hope is that not only will they know how to fix any problems they might encounter in the future, but that they will be incentivized to take better care of what they have now.

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