As the clouds parted and the rain stopped on the afternoon of the 26th of January, ALERT and our on the-ground-partner Lion Encounter sat down with the rural community of Chikamba to celebrate completion of the local primary school’s first structure; a building that will serve as the school’s library and storeroom.
Opened in 2013, Chikamba Primary is a rural school where four teachers hold classes in temporary thatched structures that were built by the community. With the completion of the library / store, as well as the recent building of a toilet block by another local organisation who are also soon to build a permanent classroom block, Chikamba Primary is becoming a great source of education for students in this community, who used to walk 10km to the nearest school.
Building in rural areas is fraught with many challenges, but after months of hard work, the keys to the new building were handed over to the community in a three-hour long ceremony held on the school’s property. Attended by such notable guests as the area’s councilor, members of the chief’s committee, and all the parents and students of the school, the ceremony included plenty of dancing, singing and speeches.
“We want to thank Gillian Provan and Gregory Pearson, two former volunteers” explained ALERT Project Manager Alanna Wallace to the audience, “Without their donations and fundraising, and the cooperation from this community, completion of the building would not have been possible. This building shows us what great results are possible when we all work together.”
A collaboration between ALERT and the Chikamba community, the two-room structure will be used to store resources, including books, which belong to the school and its teachers. Until now, the school had only thatched structures that rarely kept out rain. Dampness and harsh weather meant many of the school’s limited resources were ruined, leading to the need for a structure like the one that has been built.
“Where we are falling short, ALERT and Lion Encounter are filling the gap” said Councilor Sibanda, as he addressed the crowd of more than 200 community members and students.
All in attendance left the event with full bellies, as a goat was cooked for this special occasion, and all gathered in front of the building for a photograph to commemorate the special day.
The school is now using the structure, although painting and finishing touches to the building’s veranda will be completed in the coming weeks.
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