Zambia Orphan Aid

Helping People to Help Themselves

New desks at Twatasha Community School, Zambia

Project Summary

In July 2022, Caterham Overseas Aid Trust kindly donated £3,500 towards providing new desks and seating at Twatasha Community School to keep orphans and other vulnerable children in school and focused on learning. We are delighted to inform you that the second batch of new desks and seats have arrived at Twatasha and the students and teachers are thrilled! Thank you for your generous support.

The project’s aim was to improve the quality of education for 650 disadvantaged students attending Twatasha School. We needed funds to purchase 200 new desks and seats for the students, plus 10 teachers’ desks/chairs and 10 blackboards. The first batch of 100 desks and seats arrived in November and now the remaining 100 desks are also in place, along with the blackboards, teachers’ desks and chairs.

Twatasha School

Twatasha Community SchoolTwatasha Community School was set up because there were insufficient state school places in the peri-urban district of Kafue that were accessible for children with disabilities. Twatasha is an inclusive school which provides an opportunity for disabled children to learn alongside their non-disabled peers. This breaks down shame around disability whilst ensuring all children can access an education that will provide them with the skills they need to thrive. Community schools like Twatasha receive no Government funds so rely on donations and community volunteers.

Children with disabilities in Africa are often denied an education, a basic human right. Reasons for this include a lack of accessible school facilities and stigma – families are often ashamed of their disabled children and hide them away. Twatasha has about 650 students enrolled, and actively encourages children with disabilities (250 at present) to attend alongside orphaned children, children of parents with disabilities, children from single parenting homes, children from child-headed households and other highly vulnerable children. A high proportion of malnourished and HIV+ children are referred to Twatasha Community School.

Project Update

Before the arrival of the new desks and seats, much of the learning was taking place on the classroom floor because there were simply not enough for all the students. With your kind support the students and teachers now have improved facilities and an increased motivation for learning. The new desks, made of metal and wood by local craftspeople, are having an instant, significant impact on the pupils’ ability to learn. The desks will have an enduring legacy as they’re long lasting and will benefit hundreds of pupils in years to come, providing a better environment for effective learning for all.

Before receiving support the school only had 42 desks catering for more than 650 learners translating in a desk-pupil ratio of 1:15. The desks were not only broken but were also inappropriate for learners with special needs and disabilities. However, with your support we are happy to report that there are now 200 desks at the school thereby reducing the desk-pupil ratio from 1:15 to 1:4. This means that presently, there is no child sitting on the floor while learning, a key enabler in the delivery of quality education.

Project Impact

  • A lesson at Twatasha Community SchoolAll pupils are more comfortable with space to open books and write properly.
  • Disabled pupils are more easily included in classroom activities and seated in suitably accessible seats and desks.
  • Students’ concentration is improved as they no longer struggle for space on the floor.
  • Teachers can move around the classroom and reach pupils to provide individual assistance.
  • Clothes, that are expensive for disadvantaged families, won’t get as easily dirty or torn as they did when children were sitting on the floor during lessons.
  • Better school attendance is expected in the rainy and winter months when children find it too wet or cold to sit on the floor.
  • Twatasha School has reported a reduction in school absenteeism among students, and overall a far improved classroom and learning environment at the school.

Project monitoring and evaluation

ZOA-UK employs rigorous governance and accountability structures to ensure donations are used effectively. Our sister charity, ZOA-Zambia, based in Lusaka, manage, monitor and evaluate all our projects and work closely with our grassroots community partners to ensure the best value for money and outcomes for children. ZOA-Zambia receive quarterly reports from our partners and makes three site inspections each year. ZOA works with communities and children and youths over the long-term so will continue to monitor their progress in education and how their basic needs are being met, through Child Status Index data, until they leave education.

Case Studies

Phoebe Sianduba, Grade 10

Phoebe Sianduba“Before the new desks, as a person who has to be in the wheelchair all the time, even in class, I used to have problems writing in my books as there were no desks to rest my book on. With the coming of the new desks, I now have a desk to put my bag and book, and am able to write notes in class without many challenges.”

Mwiza Bukowa, Female, Grade 6

Mwiza Bukowa, Female, Grade 6“I want to sincerely thank ZOA for donating these desks to us. My friends used to sit on the floor but now with these desks we are even more encouraged to come to school. As for me I now have somewhere to write from because of the desks. Thank you ZOA!”

Mabvuto Mwanza, Male, Special Class

“I just want to thank ZOA for giving us these desks. As a blind child, I used to have problems with where to put my braille Stylus as I used to put the same on my legs. However, with these desks, I now have somewhere comfortable to sit and write. In my class we used to sit on the floor but now we all have somewhere to sit”.