“In 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 community see resilience and a training for strength.”
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:
Ellen Aaku; Belly Dubeka; Vivienne Hampela; Joy Lewanika; Maybin Musonda; Margeret Shamufundo & Amusaa Zaza – in Zambia. Aquil-li Ruiz Comellas; Laura Manni & Paul Nonni – in Canada. Fiona Jelley; Timothy Pain; Iram Siraj & Steven Wilber – in the UK.
Each year, the members elect four unpaid directors to provide the school’s senior managers with regular support and scrutiny. The directors for 2022 are Magrietha Botha & Leslie Jeffery 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 nineteen full-time staff, two 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.
I’ve just moved into a small house on the school site which I share with my younger brother and a nephew. We get on well and are good friends. When I’m not teaching or doing admin, we read, watch films and go jogging – but they are much faster than me.
Mukwashi has become my home, and it’s an honour to be part of this beautiful family.
Mukwashi is my home from home. I grew up at the school because my parents lived and taught here (my father was the first head teacher, and my mother is still one of our deputy heads). I suppose they’re the reason I became I teacher.
After graduating from David Livingston College in 2019, I volunteered at Mukwashi to gain teaching experience. I must have been doing something right as I was soon offered a full-time position. I now teach English, Social Studies and Civic Education in the secondary school.
I’m single, and I share one of the small houses the school rents at a local farm – as there aren’t enough houses on the school site for everyone.
Like most Mukwashi teachers, I speak six languages (including my mother tongue, Tonga) and faith is a big part of my life. I also enjoy music, action films, and making new friends.
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.
As a child, my favourite sport was gymnastics. While most of my friends were busy kicking a ball, I was doing somersaults, back flips and cartwheels. I’m still doing them today!
I’m the eighth of nine children, so it wasn’t easy for my parents; but they did what they could. It’s thanks to their encouragement I’m where I am today – teaching secondary PE and primary Maths at Mukwashi.
At secondary school, I was mocked by my fellow students because I struggled with maths. In the end, their jeers motivated me to become a maths teacher – so that I could help others to succeed at the subject.
There’s a saying here in Zambia, ‘a teacher can be anything’; so, apart from teaching, I am also a small farmer raising chickens and growing maize, a government education researcher and the school photographer.
“I’m Abraham, and I’m fourteen. 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 4. 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.”