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Poem Wins International Prize

We’re thrilled to announce that, this past term, a poem written by a small group of our Upper Secondary learners was selected to be performed at the opening ceremony of an international conference in London. It was then featured throughout November at the art exhibition linked to the conference.

The poem ‘Education Colonised‘ was written by Maliwa Kutempa, Hellen Chibale, Lydia Mulundika, Tina Zulu & Elisabeth Mayanda during a poetry project led by their English teacher, Ms Luyando Sikamikami.

Luyando thought the work so outstanding she entered it in a competition organised by the international charity ‘Debt Justice’. The whole school was amazed and incredibly proud when we heard the news that the poem had been awarded first prize.

Our learners were then asked to perform their poem outside the school so it could be videoed and shown at the exhibition. It’s been a great learning experience for us all – and has been a big boost to our learners’ confidence in their own ability and creativity.

Some more ‘tools’ for Mukwashi

In the past few weeks, we’ve been able to use the generous gifts we’ve received to purchase some more of the resources and equipment we need.

We’ve now bought all the equipment we need for our livestock studies, and are already using it in our agricultural science lessons. Here are some of our Grade 10s learning to use an ear-tag applicator – which is an important part of keeping good records of your animals.

We’ve bought 50 ‘Lohmann Brown’ chicks (it’s a German breed of hen) which will join us once they are 18 weeks old, and we’ve also purchased two Saanen goats (a young male and a pregnant young female). Saanen goats are milk producers, and our learners are all looking forward to becoming highly-skilled hand-milkers.

We’ve also commissioned a local craftsmen to make 45 stools for the science laboratory. It’s better to invest the funds we receive in the local economy rather than buying cheap imports. He’s just completed the first ten, and the others will be made by Christmas.

Examination month

November is non-stop national exams.

Our forty Grade 7s were the first to be tested, and this year their exams were even more important. The government has recently decreed that only those who pass their G7 exams can now proceed to secondary education, so the pressure is on those who are academically less able.

This photo was taken minutes after our G7s completed their exams – and we’ll learn their results at the end of next month.

Our sixteen Grade 12s were the second set of candidates, and they’ve just finished all their papers. In Zambia, the G12 certificate is more like the IB than A levels, with learners needing a good pass in English and five other subjects. Ours have been examined in eight subjects: English, Maths, Agriculture, Integrated Science, Commerce, Accounts, Civic Education and RE.

In theory, the Zambian Grade 12 certificate opens the door to the world of higher education. In reality, few of our learners will go to university because their parents cannot afford the fees – and the chances of a scholarship are tiny. Because of this, we held a special ‘graduation ceremony’ just before the G12 exams to mark the end of their time at Mukwashi. We made the event as special as we could for our leavers and their proud parents and carers.

Next week, our Grade 9s start their exams. In many ways, these are the most important exams of the three – as the Grade 9 certificate is the passport to a professional job in Zambia.

Some ‘Tools for Mukwashi’

The school has started using the funds it’s received to buy the ‘tools’ it needs. We began by investing in professional garden tools for our staff and learners to use in their Agricultural Science lessons.

We’ve spent £500 on 2 bow saws, 2 club hammers, 3 axes, 4 sprayers, 2 spades, 5 forks, 10 slashers, 17 watering cans, 20 hoes, 20 trowels, 20 rakes – and the parts to install 5 stand-pipes in our ‘ag lab’.

Our secondary learners are delighted to have proper tools to use on their plots. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.

Design & Sew

We try to provide our learners with a balanced curriculum which builds good character and stretches them academically, but which also equips them with some deeply practical skills which are relevant to local community life.

This term, in ‘Expressive Arts’, Ms Nkhoma set our 40 Grade 7 learners the project of designing and hand-sewing themselves a skirt.

This week they presented their skirts to the rest of the school – and we thought you would enjoy seeing their handiwork.


At the end of last term, we said a sad farewell to one of our deputy heads, Ms Mwangala Lubinda, our secondary science teacher, Mr Golden Siankwebo, and one of our cooks, Ms Orient Habasimbi.

And, at the start of this term, we welcomed a new secondary science teacher, Mr Hartman Mwenya, and a new cook, Ms Purity Kasamu. Mr Mwenya has joined us from a secondary school in the Copperbelt, and Ms Kasamu from a Lusaka tourist lodge.

A safer crossing

The school is next to the busy Mumbwa Road, the main road to the west. It’s one of Zambia’s handful of tarmac roads, so drivers enjoy racing along as fast as they can.

Most of our learners have to cross the road to go to school, so we have been asking the authorities for years to install speed humps and a safe crossing. There have been frequent accidents and, sadly, two fatalities in the last twelve months.

During the break between terms, Zambia’s Road Development Agency finally agreed to install a zebra crossing opposite the school entrance and to place speed humps on the road to slow the traffic.

A team of twenty RDA men camped in one of our classrooms while they did the work. They enjoyed using our toilets and showers, and finished the job in just under a week. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this vital improvement happen.

More desks!

We’ve grown in numbers so much this term we needed to buy more desks.

We order our desks from the Lusaka Central Prison to support our local economy and to build friendship and understanding with the ‘Correctional Service’. Many of our learners are the children of prison officers at nearby Mwembeshi prison, so these links are important to us.

The prisoners make the desks to whatever size we specify; they use excellent local wood – and learn welding & carpentry skills which help them gain employment on release. Their desks are superb quality, and very easy for our staff to maintain and repair.

We use ‘single’ desks throughout the school, but this time decided to buy 22 ‘double’ desks and to use them them in one of our lower primary classes.

Here are some photos of the desks arriving, and then being used by our G2 learners.

The first fruits

Back in January 2022, our current Grade 12s planted these banana plants as the first stage in the establishment of our school’s fruit orchard and banana plantation.

Eighteen months later, they are harvesting the first fruits.

Here they are, eighteen months ago, planting the first suckers…

And here they are now, enjoying the fruit of their labour…

Open for business

Our new ‘experimental business laboratory’ opened for business at the start of Term Two – to great excitement.

Second-hand shipping containers offer both security and durability, but they are like gold-dust in landlocked countries. We’ve been looking for one for years; and last December, Marvin, one of supporters in the UK, finally located one on a hillside in Zimbabwe and his logistics company transported it to Mukwashi this March.

Since then, staff and learners have been sanding, rust-proofing, painting and converting it into a small ‘community shop’. It will be run and managed by secondary learners as part of their business studies, commerce & accounts lessons. It’s a chance for them to experiment, make mistakes and gain ‘hands-on’ skills and experience in developing a small business.

Teacher Sikazinga is responsible for our new experimental learning provision.
The derelict container Marvin’s team found for the school on a Zimbabwe hillside.
Learners have done all the cleaning, sanding, rust-proofing and painting.
Our maintenance team (Gift & Innocent) converted the inside into a practical facility for SIkazinga to use in her lessons.