At the Mukonchi mission, Saturdays are anything but a time for slacking off. Regular child tutoring begins at nine in the morning and lasts until midday. But the chatter and clatter barely dies down before the classrooms fill up again, this time with the parents of children participating in the Child Sponsorship Program (Adopce na dálku®) and others who, instead of enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, battle their own illiteracy.
Inspired by her grandmother
Zelipa Banda had to stop going to school in the sixth grade. She got married and today has three children. A regular student of our classes for three years, she was among those who successfully graduated in October last year and received her seventh-grade grammar school leaving certificate upon passing the state exam. „I was inspired by my grandmother, Luliya Chisenga, who also visited these classes. When I witnessed her determination and strong will to attain, at her age (i.e. 67 years – editor’s note), what was withheld from her in her younger years, I decided I’d try it myself. The first year was hard, but we motivated each other in class, and little by little, I worked my way through the curriculum. I am so happy, and I would like to thank the Prague Caritas and our teachers. Above all, I want to make sure that my children will never find themselves in the same situation.“
Literacy courses also take place in Solwezi, with classes being taught twice weekly as of 5:00 p.m., on the premises of one of the schools, which during the day are attended by children from the Child Sponsorship Program. In October of this year, 22 adults will sit for their first state exam, equivalent to a seventh-grade grammar school leaving certificate.
„We are happy to see the growing interest in our courses and to receive positive feedback from these communities. Many people had no opportunities whatsoever to go to school in the past; others completed the elementary school curriculum. We have people signing up who heard about these courses from their friends or family members. They’ve decided to do something about their situation and to learn how to read and write. The only thing we require for enrollment is a sincere interest in education,“ says Aleš Vacek, representative of Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague in Zambia.