Fundraising for the second Belvedere College Zambia Immersion programme has begun. The group will immerse themselves into the Taonga culture and life in the rural village of Chikuni, a mission run by the Jesuits of the Zambia / Malawi Province.
The specific focus is to support school children in a radio school - a rural outstation where an educational curriculum is broadcast over a radio for a few hours each day. This allows children access education in remote areas and balance that with normal household chores that might ordinarily prevent them from travelling long distances to the nearest government run school. Education is promoted strongly as a pathway out of poverty but often the barriers to getting an education are huge.
The radio schools have overcome these barriers, and due to regular contact with school, the rural children are in many cases out performing the national results for state examinations. A real success measure.
The Belvedere students will support local children with English, Maths and cultural exchange through games, music and dance. The emphasis is on the exchange of our human story - we learn from one another and enrich one another.
An magor element of the Belvedere programme is that, through fundraising by the 40 Belvedere students, we will donate enough funds for the Jesuits to invest in permanent school buildings to replace the current mud huts used for classrooms.
All in all it's a great example of living out the Jesuit characteristics of connecting faith and social justice in a very real and practical way.