Where clean water and education go together.

Seated behind her desk in a tiny office, head teacher Fredah Kafuti explains why a new borehole (drilled well) has made such a positive difference to the primary school she runs near the town of Mumbwa, Zambia. The list is long.

Story with photos Borehole Chipo Primary School-revised Oct 16 2015 GARY of UCC-1 Kafuti








We can provide our students – there are 620, 315 girls and 305 boys – with safe drinking water, she said. We can also ensure sanitation and personal hygiene which we teach, she added. The students will take these personal experiences into the community where they will benefit many others. Because t he school has a feeding program – students are given food before and after class – the proximity of potable water makes life easier for the school’s cook. And students are using the water to irrigate small vegetable gardens they have stablished in the school compound. They grow pumpkins, onions, and other vegetables that the school cook uses for the school feeding program. Kafuti spoke of the benefits of the borehole during a visit to her school. The borehole, which is 48 meters deep, was drilled with funds donated by Toronto-based Islington United Church.

“We really appreciate the generosity of the [Islington] congregation,” she said. “We thank them so much.”

Without the borehole, we’d have to walk four kilometers to get water, she added. Kafuti is also grateful to People’s Action Forum (PAF), the United Church partner that facilitated not only the drilling of the borehole, but the building of the school two years ago.

The school is providing a vitally important service to the local community, not only as a place of learning, but as an educational “home” to youth who come mostly from single parent homes or are orphaned, Kafuti said. These are vulnerable children, she added. They also live in poverty which makes the school’s feeding program crucial. Education will give them a chance for a better life. The borehole, she added, is helping the school serve that most important purpose.

pupils sitted

Chipo Primary School is a modest facility consisting of only two classrooms. This means the school’s 620 students have to attend the school in three daily shifts. It makes for a long day for teachers, from 7 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. The staff number 13 – 12 women and one man.

entrance of chipo school

Article by Gary Kenny of the United Church of Canada

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