PIZZ School and Support Centre Zambia
PIZZ school and support centre is a small, organically growing educational centre set up Veronica Sianga, who whilst employed as a community outreach nurse and social worker at Monze Mission Hospital in Zambia, rapidly found herself coping with hundreds of children being bereaved by HIV/AIDS. To address this she set up PIZZ School with a huge emphasis on pastoral care and well-being, caring for them as individuals and meeting their numerous needs – love, food, clothing, housing, schooling and more. If they were not part of this nurturing environment, some would inevitably be on the streets.
Hands Around the World supports her work by building classrooms and provides funding for teachers’ and carers’ wages and daily school lunches for 380 children. The charity also operates a Child Sponsorship scheme – 44 children at PIZZ are sponsored currently – and it is steadily increasing to include more children. In the meantime however, the charity seeks funding from a number of sources to enable the school to continue its critical work until such time as the child sponsorships cover the costs.
The school enables children, mostly those who would not otherwise seek to even access education due to their situation as an orphan, street child, or a lack of money to pay for a school uniform at a state school, to enter an educational environment and be provided with a meal, the necessary equipment and pastoral support to partake.
The needs being addressed are access to and inclusion in primary education and the provision of pastoral care that is not being provided for elsewhere. These needs are being met by a local team of carers and teachers. In addition to the children’s need, there are opportunities for newly qualified teachers to build up teaching experience.
The school is evaluated by:
Number of pupils in attendance
Pupils’ educational attainment as measured by government standard grades
Pupils’ health and absence records
Number of pupils dropping out
Semi-structured interviews with staff, pupils, community representatives
UK project coordinator’s structured feedback
Volunteers mainly from the UK; their structured feedback
Through the charity, a Holiday Club partners UK volunteers with the school, encouraging the school to use dance, drama, art, sport and music to educate and explore significant issues impacting on the children’s lives. Lunch is also a very important part of the reason for the club! Also, there is a gardening training project, which also helps with extra food and income for the school. The Holiday Club first took place in 2014, continued last year and a repeat is due at Easter 2017.
It’s Hard To Learn When Your Hungry!
Our Lunch Box Scheme provides each child with a school meal each day.
The lunches are simple, consisting principally of fortified maize meal or rice, but the benefits in terms of health, alertness, school attendance and performance since we started the feeding programme 2 years ago have been dramatic! More than 20 children did exceptionally well in Grade 7 and Grade 9 exams, and one former student Mawini M is now studying vet science at Lusaka University.
Mrs. Sianga and her dedicated team have quoted ‘what a fantastic difference it has made!’ Not only do more children come to school regularly, but they are much more energetic and alert, generally healthier, and their improved school performance has seen exam results go through the roof!
Hands Around the World pays £500 per month to feed the children, that’s just over £1 per month each! With the school ever expanding there is a real need to secure further funding to support our current streams of funding for this project.
By providing not only education, but also food, uniforms and sensitive support, the project enables the children to attend school, and provides an opportunity for the children to break the cycle of poverty, for themselves and their families.