Zambia | 11 March 2016
The festivities began with a number of songs performed by a children’s choir, as well as local talent. This was followed by speeches by a number of guests, including the Regional Permanent Secretary, Augustine Seyuba, and JTI’s General Manager for Zambia, Mike Roach. One parent spoke to the crowd, sharing his thoughts about his own child’s experience and encouraging other parents to allow their children to attend the school.
A number of traditional leaders, Nduna, were present and expressed their support for the project by cutting the ribbon at the entrance to one of the new buildings and unveiling a commemorative plaque. Afterwards the celebrations continued and featured traditional percussion played on a large xylophone accompanied by dancing.
The five new classrooms, administration block, staff house and toilet-block replace basic mud hut structures. The maintenance-free structures are a substantial improvement, providing a well-lit and comfortable environment for children to learn. The new facilities are expected to encourage more children to withdraw from child labor and enter the classroom.
“We are proud to have given the children in the community the means to realize their potential. Environment plays an important role in how receptive children, and parents, are to schooling. These new facilities provide a space where children can be nurtured and supported”, says Renata Bruzova, ARISE Program Manager.
The ARISE Program takes a long-term approach to addressing complex social issues. Eliminating child labor and providing improved learning environments is one of the program’s key strategies.