2009 Returning Students Event
This social outing was intended for KF students to interact with the street children and help them realize how fortunate they were to be able to be given an opportunity acquire quality education by KF. It was also meant for them to realize that despite being disadvantaged the street children at Fountain of Hope could teach them skills which they didn’t have in painting and art work as much as they could teach them also how to read.
Picking Up the Students
The day started off with the picking up of the 20 KF returning students from their various homes around Lusaka with a hired bus. As the children were being picked an atmosphere of excitement filled the bus. We arrived at Fountain of Hope just after 10:00hrs and we were met by Vasco, a former street child, who now works there and he welcomed us all and assured us that we were in safe hands. Only one student, Phales Mtonga was not picked as she had gone to the village to visit her parents.
Tour of Fountain of Hope
The day began with Vasco conducting a tour of the facilities of Fountain of Hope, starting with the classrooms and dormitories. He explained that most of the street children, who drop in, just come there to bathe and have some food but those who show interest in learning and want to improve their lives are taken in and are taught basic skills in art and other skills which will help them earn a living for themselves. The students also toured the kitchen where they were shown the dining room and he explained that the street children are fed three meals in a day. Those who find it hard to feed themselves usually come there to eat and later return to the street. The clinic was toured too where children are treated with minor ailments but those with serious ailments are referred to Kamwala clinic where they are treated free of charge.
The tour proceeded to the Lubuto library where Vasco showed the students the different sections of the library and he explained to them how to find books in the library. Later he asked the students’ one by one to locate certain books and the children had great fun at this game. He went on to explain that the books in the library were donated by National Geographic Society of America. Vasco explained the depression in the middle of the library as a talking circle and he asked everyone to sit around the circle. He taught the children how to take care of books. That they should always handle books with clean hands and to keep water, sun light and insects away from books.
The children went on to play a game where they were divided into four groups. Each group was told to go to a section in the library and select a book, name its author and give a brief narration of its contents. This activity gave KF students an opportunity to impart their reading skills to the street children who could not read. During this activity one of the street children present was discovered that he was drunk from inhaling ‘sticker’ a new drug on the street which is a residue of jet fuel. He was politely asked to leave the circle and library. This game helped the students to interact with the street children and friendly relations were developed.
Guests Sharing Tertiary Education and Career Experiences
After the library game it was time for the invited guest to share insights on tertiary education and their experiences. Florence and Alex a Ugandan couple shared with the children first. Florence who has a BA in International Relations and a Master of Law degree explained that in order to find a job one needed to achieve the highest possible qualifications. The competition for good jobs is very steep. It was therefore necessary for the children to start working hard in school to become successful in life. She also advised that they needed to be careful on the careers they choose as the job market is very limited nowadays.
Alex her husband holds a BA in Structural Engineering grew up in Uganda and at a tender grew to love mathematics. He then went to the United Kingdom to pursue his Engineering degree. He talked about the importance of school and advised that they should select subjects which are relevant to the careers they want to do. That they should study hard for better grades. He lastly encouraged them to take advantage of the good education opportunity KF was giving them by excelling in school.
The last to speak was Tanda a student at the University of Zambia studying Mechanical Engineering. Tanda spoke about the need for the students to have a dream in life. He pointed out that these aspirations must start now when they are still young. He narrated how when young he told his father that he wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and how his father encouraged him to work hard in mathematics. Mathematics became his favorite subject and he knows that he will achieve his dream in the near future. He also encouraged them to talk to their career teachers so as to get the best guidance on the subjects to take. In conclusion he asked them to live their dream by believing in themselves and asked each one of them what they wanted to be in life. Among the various answers to this question one of the street children answered that he wanted to become President of Zambia.
Later the whole group proceeded to the art room. Here the students were shown around and were amazed at the beautiful paintings the street children had painted. The instructor gave the students basic tips in sketching and how to draw using free hand with a pencil. Thereafter the street children were paired with KF students who taught them how to draw and paint. They interacted very well with their fellow children and were able to learn a thing or two about painting from their new found friends. This activity also gave the street children a chance to share the knowledge that they have and to build confidence themselves. Due to time most students did not finish their paintings so the street children promised to finish for them.
A game of basketball between KF students and the street children was played. The street children out played KF students by far in the game. Their skill with the ball was very good and KF lost by six baskets to nil. The smallest member of the street children team was very amusing to watch with his great skills on the ball. The game had to be cut short due to time.
The day came to an end at Fountain of Hope with a picture session. Everyone said their byes and it was evident that the students enjoyed themselves and that lessons were learnt.
Luncheon and Movie
The last part of the program was lunch and a movie at Arcades Mall. The children had fun choosing their food from the menu and it was a nice experience for them to order food of their own choice. They enjoyed their meals and learnt how to use forks and knives. They later after lunch watched a movie which they enjoyed evidenced by their laughter during the movie. The movie ended just after 16:30hrs.
Before the bus started off from Arcades the Executive Director spoke to the children. She asked them to be appreciative of the people sponsoring them and to never take things for granted. That the opportunity which they have to receive a good quality education is being sought after by many disadvantaged children. They should work hard by taking their studies seriously and those who fail to make the grades will be dealt with accordingly. She asked them to look after each other and study together.
The Finance Officer cautioned the students, as a good number of them have lost text books some even as many as nine books. The books are assets of KF and must be looked after well so that others can use them. In future all those who lose books will not receive clothing from KF. The funds for their clothing will be used to replace them. He also reminded them that all the clothing bought for them by KF should be treasured and not given away to anyone.
Lastly the Executive Director asked the children to write a two page essay on their day out. They were also asked to identify a project in their community and get involved in helping their communities.
Article written by Harrison Lumbama, Programs officer