The story so far
The owners of Borassus Estates and Floribo, two agricultural businesses in rural Chilanga, started to act on their dream of building a primary school for their workers’ children. Back then, the two companies grew vegetables and roses for export to the UK and the Netherlands, and, together, employed 300 workers.
They established The Mukwashi Trust, and started raising funds for a school. In June, the Embassy of the Netherlands gave the first gift: £12,000 for a block-making machine and building materials. Mack Multiples Ltd, a customer in the UK, then contributed £30,000, and Borussus provided £15,000.
It took three more three years to raise all the funds needed to erect two steel-frame sheds (both containing two classrooms and an office) and a toilet block on Borussus’ farm.
The primary school finally opened on 4th September 2006 — with 70 pupils and two teachers. All the pupils were the children of Borussus and Floribo workers.
In 2009, a group of pre-schools in New York donated books, puzzles, games and toys to help establish a pre-school on the site.
However, just as this opened in early 2010, collapsing global prices tipped Borussus into bankruptcy. Suddenly, the school faced an uncertain future.
The farm was bought by Seedco, a Pan-African agricultural company, and, to survive, the school had to start focusing on serving the wider local community.
Following an influx of pupils from the local community, a UK steel company and a Zambian cement company donated the materials to construct a third steel-shed containing two more classrooms.
The following year, a school in Bonn, Germany, donated 750 kg of books to begin a school library.
After four years of steady growth, an online fundraiser raised £32,000 ($40,000) to build a fourth classroom block on the site to develop a secondary school.
For the next five years, the school added one additional year-group each year.
In Zambia, climate change produced a drought which ended day-time power, and falling copper prices meant rampant inflation and a struggling economy.
By now, the original Trustees had all moved on, the Mukwashi Trust had ceased to operate, and the school was facing some acute growing pains.
Nevertheless, gifts totalling £10,000 funded a small toilet block and completed a science laboratory; Floribo funded a borehole to provide a supply of drinking water; and fifty international supporters donated £24,000 ($30,000) to an online fundraiser which allowed the school to improve teacher salaries, purchase supplies and plan for the future.
On 1st January 2020, a non-profit company (Mukwashi Trust School Ltd) was created by a small group of education academics and charity professionals in the UK & Canada. The old Mukwashi Trust was dissolved; the school was legally transferred to the new company; staff were given new, much improved, contracts; and a fresh surge of energy re-empowered the school.
In March 2020, Seedco International provided the new company with the security of a 50-year, rent-free lease of the entire site. The future was starting to look more promising. Then Covid arrived.
However, despite repeated long closures in 2020 & 2021, the school flourished. A dynamic new Head Teacher brought focus and direction. Donors funded text books, desks, a kitchen and an Early Years’ Unit. The school began a daily bus service, catch up classes and free meals for all – and learner numbers rose by 40%.
to our local and international supporters
All our growth since 2006 (classrooms, toilets, borehole, bus, kitchen, books, etc) has been down to the generosity of Mukwashi’s supporters.
Until 2016, we received £10,000 each year from Seedco and the Lusaka Latino community.
Between 2009 – 2019, we received £15,000 from partner schools and £100,000 from individual and corporate donors: much of this came via Bridges of Peace & Hope, our ‘section 501 (3c)’ partner in the US.
Since 2020, many old and new friends have donated over £45,000 through this web-site; and dozens of Zambian companies have contributed goods, materials and services at either no or a heavily discounted cost.
All these gifts, over the years, have been life-changing investments in thousands of young Zambian lives.
The school’s founders wanted to give the children in Chilanga district a future shaped by high-quality education, and for them to become catalysts for change.
We are now sufficiently ‘down the line’ to be able to see this happening.
Here are some of the first learners who started at Mukwashi in 2006: they represent the young people in whom our supporters are investing.
None of them began with any of the stuff people in high income countries think matters, but they all have tons of the stuff which really matters:
From left to right:
Twaambo graduated from teaching college, and works as an intern teaching English at a government secondary school. Nicholas is pursuing his passion for woodwork, and works with his brother’s company making and selling furniture. Nandipha works as a singer / songwriter, and is now a mother. Kenneth graduated as an agricultural engineer, and works for our landlord, Seedco. Diana is teaching English for a local US evangelical mission. Lazarous graduated with a business degree, and works for a Zambian company as their Stores’ Controller. Mweetwa works as a consultant water engineer. And Kadija works with her husband running their family farm, and now has two children.
Our main fundraising aim is to gather a larger number of committed supporters who’ll contribute regular amounts (weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually) to provide free school places for the children in our community who are most disadvantaged.