Whether you loved learning about pythagoras theorem and the works of Shakespeare or couldn’t wait to leave the classroom, an education is a powerful thing. To celebrate International Day of Education (24 January), David Temfwe, director of Tearfund partner the Jubilee Centre, shares how access to schooling is bringing hope and change in local communities.
‘In Zambia there is a deep lack of innovative thinkers because people are primarily concerned with day to day survival,’ explains David.
‘Many families are illiterate and agriculture is the livelihood of nearly 90 per cent of the population. Often parents are more concerned with their children helping on the family farms than gaining an education. For rural populations there is a lot that needs to take place to help them truly appreciate the value of a good education.
‘It is very difficult to do anything meaningful in Zambia without a formal education. Most trade is conducted in English, however there are over 70 local languages. So, for an illiterate person, life can be very difficult.
‘Simple day-to-day things like opening a bank account, interacting with people in government offices, reading terms and conditions of various documents or even reading the Bible are enormous task to people who aren’t educated.’
Recognising the power that knowledge and skills bring, David explains how the staff at the Jubilee Centre are working to change perceptions around education in Zambia.
‘We have a child [support] programme that helps kids in under-resourced communities attend primary and secondary school,’ continues David. ‘One of our success stories is Odria. She was supported all the way through university to gain a degree in mathematics and is currently pursuing an MBA.
‘Odria is now an employee at the Jubilee Centre, managing our savings department. Her life has been transformed in so many ways. As a woman in Zambia, her perspective towards her value has changed. Now she knows that she doesn’t need to wait for a husband to meet her day-to-day needs. She is fully independent and is able to support her family.’
‘Education is one of the single most important tools in Zambia when it comes to achieving gender independence and equality. It is a priority of the Jubilee Centre to continue to advocate for this reality.’
Education not only brings opportunities but also gives people value. David explains how working with Tearfund volunteers has helped put this into action.
‘When volunteers teach in communities riddled with hopelessness, they inject optimism and remind people of their God given value. Not only are they getting to enjoy a different approach to our traditional educational practices, but they are being reminded that they matter. Months after the team has left, their names are still being spoken about in these communities and that is priceless.’
In the words of Barack Obama, ‘The best anti-poverty programme around is a world-class education.’ Through the amazing work of the Jubilee Centre, David has experienced the truth of this firsthand.
‘We’ve seen that when people are empowered with knowledge, it doesn’t matter their age, gender or race, mountains move.’
Want to see how education is changing communities? Join with our partners and support the incredible work they’re doing on a Tearfund Go placement.