Unification News for March 2001

Zambia RYS builds a school for children of AIDS Victims

by Nicholas Chisha

The Religious Youth Service (RYS) and the International Relief and Friendship Project have been active in Zambia throughout the year putting together a variety of programs and projects. Among the most timely of these programs was the construction and opening of a primary school for children whose parents or guardians had recently died due to HIV/AIDS. This project was the 4th Africa Rising Project which is a part of the IIFWPs desire to promote among youth leaders and peace makers both intra-Africa and inter-continental cooperation.

The Zambian chapter of RYS decided to open a school because of the tragic reality that many innocent children in communities were losing all chance for a proper education because of the desperate situation of poverty that orphans face.

The school for the orphan children was started by the local community before any actual building was constructed. Local children began to gather for lessons under the shade of trees and in other make-shift situations. Naturally, heavy rainfall and other situations arose to make it difficult to have regular instruction. For this reason the community sought to have a permanent structure constructed to fill the need.

The International Relief and Friendship Foundation (IRFF) and the RYS decided to team up and work with the local community so that a permanent structure could be raised. From December 15-21, an international team of fifty RYS volunteers that included Zambian youth leaders from various religions went to Ndola City to help in construct a new school building. During their stay, each of the volunteers worked hard to give substance to the dream of the communities children.

Throughout the work, RYS participants were joined by many community volunteers as they labored together. The work began with the clearing of the plot of land that had been allocated for the school by the city council. Work continued with the actual building of the classroom, an office and a storage room.

During the project a number of high officials came to the site including the mayor of the city of Ndola, the District Education Officer and several religious leaders. Knowing how the community longed for this school, they were impressed by all that IRFF and RYS could accomplish in such a short time and viewed the project as important for the future development of the community.

On arriving at the work site, the IRFF Field Director, Mr. Massimo Trombin heard about a senior teacher of the Orphan Schools who daily made a long and hard walk to reach the compound in order to be able to teach. Mr. Trombin then decided to donate a bicycle to the school to help this teacher and others. This gift was received with great joy among the school community.

The District Education Officer was so happy with the work that he offered a full scholarship from the Ministry of Education to train one of the school teachers. This will be very valuable in lifting the quality of the education offered at the school.

The result of this years combined RYS and IRFF effort is that the children will get an opportunity to learn and receive and education that can help them rise above the misery of subsistence living. No longer will classes need to be held under a tree or be canceled on account of the rain! The IRFF and RYS have the hope to work with this community to help it reach a level where they will have a full school and clinic functioning.

Additional Activities in Zambia In an effort to provide positive activities for at risk youth, the RYS has formed a football club for youth under the age of twenty. The club provides an opportunity for young people to form friendships, enjoy themselves, and develop physically while learning the value of team work and cooperation. The club also has activities that work to promote the value of community service and sportsmanship.

In addition, a very active Chess Club has been formed for youth under the age of eighteen. Both clubs are examples of the practical outreach that the IIFWP is actively promoting.

Nicholas Chisha :is the co-ordinator of RYS/IRFF in Zambia.

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