Supporting expert teachers + improving facilities + providing free places
Mukwashi Trust School is in Zambia, one of the world’s poorest nations. Like most land-locked countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it struggles with drought, inflation, corruption and a collapsing economy: over 60% of Zambia’s 18 million people live in acute poverty.
Our pre, primary & secondary school is in Chilanga district, west of Lusaka. We serve 510 learners from a farming community which lives in challenging circumstances.
“At Mukwashi, I see a blossoming of talent, and a desire to excel and make a difference which gives back to the community. I see perseverance and a joy for life which makes obstacles turn into opportunities for developing problem-solvers. Where others see despair, the Mukwashi staff see resilience and training for strength.”
Our mission is to work with flair, dedication and expertise, and to provide our learners with a future shaped by high-quality education. We aim to equip them to become ‘catalysts for change’ in their own rural community.
We are also seeking to become a ‘beacon of excellence‘ in sub-Saharan Africa, and to show other rural schools, serving similar disadvantaged communities, with similar limited resources, how much they can achieve.
Going forward, with your help, we aim to build friendships with similar schools in rural Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe & Zambia, and to provide them with training, encouragement and support.
‘Mukwashi’ isn’t a place; it’s a local word for ‘family’. Our school is called ‘mukwashi’ because everyone involved — staff, learners, parents, carers, local sponsors, company members and international supporters — are united in one family enterprise: educating the next generation.
The school is run by Mukwashi Trust School Ltd — a non-profit making company which is limited by guarantee and registered in Zambia (120190009921).
The company’s fourteen members provide the school’s governance, direction and strategy. They are:
In Zambia: Ellen Aaku, Belly Dubeka, Vivienne Hampela, Joy Lewanika, Maybin Musonda, Margeret Shamufundo & Amusaa Zaza. In Canada: Aquil-li Ruiz Comellas, Laura Manni & Paul Nonni. In the UK: Fiona Jelley, Timothy Pain, Iram Siraj & Steven Wilber.
Each year, the members elect six unpaid directors to provide the school’s managers with support and scrutiny. The 2023 directors are Magrietha Botha, Leslie Jeffery, Joy Lewanika & Amusaa Zaza in Zambia, Laura Manni in Canada and Timothy Pain in the UK.
Ms Sakuwaha is the Head Teacher; Mr Shamufundo & Ms Lubinda are the two Deputy Heads. They lead and manage the school, and are supported by twenty one full-time staff, one part-time staff and several volunteers.
Academically, the school is advised by one of the company members, Prof Iram Siraj OBE, Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College and Professor of Child Development & Education at Oxford University.
I teach Maths and RE to Grades 8 to 12, and am also part of the school’s senior leadership team.
It’s at Mukwashi that I became a full ‘baked’ teacher! By this, I mean the school has been like a training college for me, with so many opportunities to learn new teaching strategies and management skills.
My first training was at Paglory University, in Zambia’s central province, and I graduated in 2016 with a secondary school teaching degree.
Last year, I moved into a small house on the school site which I share with my younger brother. We get on well and are good friends. When I’m not teaching or doing admin, we read, watch films and go jogging – but he is much faster than me.
Mukwashi has become my home, and it’s an honour to be part of this beautiful family.
I’ve worked at Mukwashi as a primary school teacher for over ten years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in this time!
After teaching Reception for more than six years, I’m now the class teacher for Grade 4 in the mornings and Grade 2 in the afternoons. This means that, between the two classes, I teach 86 children every day: it’s a big responsibility.
I love teaching, and am striving to become an outstanding, successful woman who makes a difference in today’s society. I’m determined but calm, and believe in working hard for whatever you believe.
I’ve a keen interest in farming, reading, sharing God’s word and spending time with my loved ones. I’ve been a ‘carer’ since I was a child, and, although single, look after two nieces who both go to Mukwashi.
I joined Mukwashi in January 2021 to teach the two ‘Catch-Up’ classes: one in the morning for lower primary, and the afternoon class for upper primary.
My job is helping learners who start schooling late ’catch up’ in literacy and numeracy. We’ve a great African reading scheme which helps children enjoy reading and make fast progress. I’m proud when they succeed and join their grade class.
Alongside my teaching qualification, I’ve also a diploma in Library Information Science — so I’m now also the school librarian. This keeps me very busy!
When I’m not at school, I’m usually preparing lessons for next day; but I take breaks at weekends to read, cook, watch movies and play board games.
One day, I’d like to open a school for children with special needs — and give them the chance to reach their maximum potential.
Although I was born in Lusaka town, I grew up in the Eastern province – in Chama district, close to Malawi.
As a child, I was always interested in plants and animals, so, after school, I returned to Lusaka to train in agriculture education at NRDC – Zambia’s top agricultural college – and then studied animal science at Palabana university.
I joined Mukwashi in January 2023 to teach Agricultural Science and develop the school’s livestock and experimental ‘Ag Lab’ project.
As an agriculture teacher, it’s good to be able to get our learners out of the classroom for some of every day and provide them with real ‘hands-on’ knowledge and skills – it makes such a big difference.
I live with my wife and three young children on a nearby farm, in a small group of three staff houses the school rents.
“I’m Abraham, and I’m fifteen. My mum and dad both died when I was a baby. My grandmother looked after me for the next two years, but then she died too.
I’ve lived with different people since then, and am now with a relative who works as a labourer on local farms at harvest time – so she doesn’t earn much.
I didn’t go to a school when I was young as we didn’t have any money to pay fees. But, one day, some church people brought me to Mukwashi and the teachers gave me a free place.
I was in the Catch Up Class for a while, but have now started in Grade 5. I like English and Maths a lot, and my dream is to become a lawyer.”
“This small community school is inspiring vulnerable students to believe in themselves, reach for their dreams and never give up. It’s transforming their community for the better – one child at a time.
The staff and students exude a thirst for knowledge and joy of learning which is both extraordinary and contagious. I’ve visited top private schools all round the world which spend as much money educating one child as MTS does educating an entire school. In my opinion, the results Mukwashi achieves are far more impressive.”
“I’ve seen first-hand how small gifts of service and finance have created great opportunities for learning and growth, as well as deeper understanding for my students and me. Mukwashi is a special community where the joys of questioning, wondering and learning are contagious.”