Chilanga is one of the poorest communities in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Unemployment is permanently over 70%. One of the main reasons for this is the government’s decision not to open a school in the community.
Without basic reading and writing skills, there is virtually no hope for anyone to find paid work. The tragedy of this cycle of poverty is that even if the government finally opened a school, none of the parents would be able to afford the school fees. It seems almost impossible to come up with a solution to help this ultra-poor community move forward.
The inception of RIZE School, which stands for Reducing Illiteracy in Zambia through E-learning, is a story of unwavering determination and community spirit. Neboth recognised the dire need for educational resources in his community. His name, a misspelling of the Biblical “Naboth”, is a testament to his parents' illiteracy, and only fueled his resolve to ensure that the children of his community would not face the same barriers. Armed with a vision and a deep sense of responsibility, Neboth took it upon himself to create a space where learning and growth could flourish.
In a two-roomed building, Neboth invited children from the surrounding area to come and learn. The students are mostly orphans and/or lacking basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. The emotional trauma of losing their parents and going through so much pain and struggle so early in life is plain to see in some of the children, but Neboth welcomed them with open arms.
The journey, however, was fraught with challenges. The scarcity of resources loomed large, threatening to derail the dreams of Neboth and the children of RIZE School. It was at this critical moment that TWAM and a group of local volunteers stepped in, equipped with the tools that would prove to be a catalyst for change.
Hansuma, a Military Policeman by day and a carpenter by passion, dedicated his spare time to crafting furniture for the school using tools supplied by TWAM. He also makes additional furniture which he sells to raise money for the school.
Similarly, Annin, a local tailor, uses a TWAM-supplied sewing machine to create school uniforms and teach tailoring to the parents in the community, empowering them with skills to create their own livelihoods.
Neboth uses a TWAM computer to do all the administrative work involved with running the school.
Neboth, Hansuma, and Annin are supporting the entire school thanks to their selfless commitment and their TWAM carpentry kits, sewing machines, and computer equipment. The school now has enough income to ensure that every child gets a simple hot meal at lunchtime, which for many of the children will be their only meal of the day.
The RIZE school represents a community transformed by dedicated volunteers given the tools needed to make their dreams a reality. It can be hard to believe that a carpentry kit and sewing machine could achieve so much, but given to the right people, this is the impact that they can have.