In our last 2 x news articles we introduced the many challenges facing our rural nursery partners (CBCCs). The issues are many and include substandard classrooms, a lack of teaching materials, poorly motivated volunteers and difficulties providing of school meal daily to name a few. Of the 39 x partners offering Early Years education the 9 x CBCCs partnered with Seibo are by far the most in need of assistance. While we have seen some instances of buildings being patched up to reasonable standards the fact remains that many CBCCs are simply not in a position to provide quality education in a safe environment without training, support and further financial assistance. In this article we continue to introduce our CBCC (rural nursery) partners in the hope that a problem shared can become a problem halved.
Since the pandemic began the CBCCs in particular have had to deal with new challenges. False rumours circulating in rural communities suggesting that children who attend nurseries will be vaccinated forcibly is making some parents reluctant to send their children back to school. Most children have been out of school for a year and need to learn all previously attained skills once again. This is further hampered by reduced working hours and poorly motivated teaching staff who operate on a volunteer basis. An entire generation of nursery school children may be affected. While not the solution to many of these problems the ability to provide a daily meal is effective as it provides the motivation for children to attend and is often the reason why volunteers decide to help teach the kids. In whatever form it takes help is required and Seibo can only hope that by sharing these stories, we can together, become part of the solution.
Meet the Mlambe CBCC
The Mlambe CBCC situated in Chamba village has been a Seibo partner CBCC since June 2017. The school building consists of 2 x rooms but only one can be used as a classroom as the iron roofsheets have fallen in and have remained in that state for over a year. Like a lot of CBCC’s they have gone back to the beginning of their teaching programme and are teaching their children from scratch after a year out. In addition some parents are seemingly enrolling their children solely for the free school meal and are not actually sending them to school. This has caused strife between parents and teachers as the school meal is conditional on nursery school attendance.
Meet the Makapwa CBCC
The Makapwa CBCC is Seibo’s most remote partner situated in an area called Chimembe and has been a partner since August 2016. Previously they had 2 x caregivers but are now down to 1. Since we last posted the community has built a classroom with a grass roof. Problems persist however as when it rains the walls leak and the plastic under the grass roof has become torn in places.
Parents are asked to contribute Mk200 per month for the nursery upkeep and to support the volunteers but even this is difficult for many parents to pay. With only 1 caregiver and many children it is difficult to keep the nursery open. This is further compounded by the replacement of a cooked school meal with take-home rations and now many children arrive hungry rendering both caregiving & teaching an impossibility.
Meet the Mwayi CBCC
The Mwayi CBCC located in Sigerege recently received MK250,000 to fund a new classroom from a local politician. The classroom/shelter is partly completed but funding ran out before the community could procure timber for the roof. The community do have a plan to temporary house the nursery in one of the caregivers house to allow works to continue.
Meet the Tikondane CBCC
The Tikondane CBCC situated in Chigawaja has been a Seibo partner since May 2016. They reopened the CBCC on the 8th of March. This was an entire 2 weeks after their official opening due to parents reluctance to send their children back to school and the virus fears of teaching volunteers. The previous classroom was destroyed by wind so teaching is currently taking place at a nearby church. Unfortunately the church building is also in a poor state of repair and too far for many parents to take their children.
Meet the Tiyamike CBCC
The Tiyamike CBCC located in the community of Zambia has been a Seibo partner since May 2016. There is only 1 volunteer teacher- a Mrs. Chirwa who also works as a Health Surveillance Assistant at Chilomoni clinic. While not a teacher Mrs. Chirwa is sometimes assisted by Mr. Soloden who can take the register and help out. He is a shoemaker by profession and as such can only look in on the children from time to time. Most of the time the children are supervised by Mrs. Mdangalawa who cooks the school meal. Understaffed is an understatement.