Kampasa Community School
Accommodation: TEV Members receive the volunteer discount at Kalulu Backpackers
About Kampasa CS: Of all the urban towns and shanties that I have visited, I think the John Laing compound may well be the most in need. It is located just a couple of kilometres from the supermarket complexes but it is worlds apart from the consumer bling and bustle of the city centre. Designated uninhabitable by the government when the area was first settled, John Laing was never meant to become a home to 9000 families and for good reason – tightly packed together with a stark lack of sanitation, running water and electricity, life is very tough for its residents. What’s more, the compound boasts no medical centre, has only one official primary school and yet is located in the heart of the most expensive city in Zambia. Opportunities to rise out of poverty are few and far between, which is precisely why the community have come together to convert an old nightclub into a primary school, and the reason why I love Lusaka – the spirit of the people is inspiring.
The school is very new (opened in 2012) and is run entirely by local volunteer teachers. It is funded by small-scale income generating projects carried out in Lusaka in association with Schools Club Zambia, a Zambian based NGO and from donations from the British NGO, Baraka. It is hugely under-resourced and in need of funding and support. It is for this reason that I would worry about the impact volunteers may have on the success of the school – the old idea that as they are in need “anything is better than nothing” can be very dangerous for a project such as this which is just finding its feet. The school is lacking in teachers, but that two weeks with a volunteer teacher is better than the children receiving no education – a string of volunteer teachers drifting in and out will only serve to confuse and discourage the children. The school is very much in need of materials, but in these early stages it is best to assist the staff with their efforts to source educational equipment, not to come swooping in and dump materials on their desks – what happens next week, next month or next year when they need more equipment?
So what should a volunteer do to help Kampasa CS? The right volunteer could be a huge asset for the school, helping to train teachers, write grant proposals or further develop the income generation projects. The school is a wonderful example of a community coming together to better the lives of their youth and it is a wonderful opportunity for the right volunteer to help with the development of the school and its ability to deliver a quality education to its pupils. Just please make sure you are the right person for the job, that you can commit a decent amount of time and that you have really thought about the effects your efforts will have on the long term sustainability of the school.
Current projects: KCS continues to renovate the classrooms while working towards fully stocking the school, training their volunteer teachers, securing long term funding and developing successful income generating projects.
Current Volunteer Opportunities:
- Teacher training
- Admin: grant writing etc
- Business development for income generating projects
Requirements: A minimum the commitment of 1 month a background in education.
Accommodation: Volunteers stay at Kalulu backpackers
Getting there: Kalulu is a 10 minute walk from the city centre bus station and local buses run all day to/from the Chawama compound. Though Chawama is approx. 7km from the city centre, the bus makes lots of stops, meaning you get 30 minutes each way to really experience the sights, sounds and smells of the city!! Justin from Chawama will take the bus with you the first few times to until you are well acquainted with the route!
Contact Kampasa to apply for current volunteer opportunities
Once a nightclub in Kampasa, now a community school
The compound lacks proper sanitation and has grossly inadequate educational and health care facilities
Food sellers, Kampasa
Kampasa, John Laing, Lusaka