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 provided the first gift from the US. They 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 high-quality fiction and non-fiction books to establish and equip a school library.
After four years of steady growth, a Crowdrise 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, as well, the original Trustees had all moved on, the Mukwashi Trust had ceased to operate, and the school was facing some growing pains.
Neverthless, one large gift and many smaller gifts, totalling £10,000, funded modern toilets for adolescent girls and completed the science laboratory; Floribo funded a borehole to provide the school with a supply of clean water; and fifty supporters in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US donated £24,000 ($30,000) to a GoFundMe fundraiser which allowed the school to improve teacher salaries, purchase supplies and plan for the future.
On 1st January 2020, a new non-profit company, Mukwashi Trust School Ltd, was formally registered in Lusaka by a small group of charity professionals and education academics from the UK, Canada and the US. The Mukwashi Trust was formally dissolved; the school was transferred to the new company; staff were given new, improved, contracts; and a fresh surge of energy re-empowered and re-envisioned the school.
In March, through our good friend in Jo’burg, Terence Chimanya, Seedco International finally provided the school with the security of a legally-registered, 50-year, rent-free lease of the site.
We can now start to plan for the long-term. What happens next, partly depends on you…
to our local and international supporters
All our growth since 2006 (including classrooms, toilets, borehole, bus, kitchen, books, etc) has been down to the generosity of Mukwashi’s supporters.
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 students 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 is training as a teacher; Nicholas has been offered a job as a TV presenter; Nandipha is a singer/songwriter; Kenneth has graduated as an agricultural engineer; Diana has qualified as a teacher and is working for a US evangelical ‘mission’; Lazarous has graduated with a degree in business and is working for a Zambian commercial business; Mweetwa is a professional water engineer; and Kadija helps run her family farm.
Our main fundraising focus at the moment is on gathering a larger number of committed supporters who’ll contribute regular amounts (monthly, quarterly or annually) to provide free school places for local disadvantaged children, and to support our different improvement projects.
Introducing our teachers
“My name is Jolly Moono, and I qualified as a teacher in 2011 at Rugambwa College in Tanzania.
“I’ve been responsible for the Early Years’ classes at Mukwashi since 2012, and I work with a teaching assistant to give the youngest children at our school (3-5 yrs) the best possible foundation for primary school. I love my job!
Working at Mukwashi is a wonderful privilege. I enjoy being part of a team which communicates and works together to improve pupil learning. The best part is I get to continue my learning too. We’ve a great teacher library; people come from different places in the world to share best practice, and, last year in the covid closures, we all worked through the UK Open University’s online professional development courses for teachers in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“A little bit about me outside work: I’m married, have two young sons, and we live in the teachers’ block at the school. It’s a bit of a squash as I also look after my younger brother and sister. As well as English, I speak four local languages, and I enjoy singing, listening to music, reading and going to church.
I am blessed to be part of Mukwashi, and I thank God for what you do to help us give the pupils in our community a high-quality education.”