Zambia Group is one of the school’s oldest, most trusted, and established associations. For years, students have raised money that has been sent down annually to two schools in Zambia, one in the capital Lusaka and one in the town of Livingstone. Every single crown that has been collected has gone towards the aim of the association – to pay the tuition costs for students in Zambia. Why? Because we do not just believe that education is a fundamental human right that enables people to create more opportunities for their future, we are certain of this. We know that every person is equal and that those of us who are born with the privilege of taking a first-grade education for granted, have a duty to do our best to level the playing field. This is one of the core principles of the Zambia Group.
We are all born with certain privileges, whether it is the privilege of being a man, being white, of a wealthy and/or educated background, being able-bodied, or born into a country such as Sweden where the children are some of the most privileged when it comes to access to education. In Sweden, school is free for the students. You are not required to pay for tuition nor are you obliged to pay for a uniform or school supplies. When you commence upper secondary school, you are provided with a grant that covers the eventual costs. However, this is not the case in all countries, such as in Zambia, where, in order to access education, you must pay a fee every term or year, as well as potential additional costs such as examination fees. In Zambia, 15%, approximately 800 000 children do not attend school. This means that they will not get an educational degree which, most likely will hamper them from attaining higher-paid jobs. The children that are unable to pay their school fees are also the poorest children and thereby the most vulnerable, meaning the children stuck in poverty are not receiving the education they need to break the cycle of poverty and improve their lives. You do not choose the country you are born in, yet it has a great effect on your life. It is fundamentally a matter of pure chance that all of us can attend this school, without ever having to worry about the need to quit because we do not have the means to continue. The unfairness of the situation is unbearable and must change.
The world has many beautiful things, such as art, flowers, and some even consider mathematics to be beautiful! From an optimistic point of view, this is enough to believe that the world is ultimately a good place. Although, irrespective of your worldview, we must all face the facts when it comes to the problems in the world, and the fact that some children do not have access to education is one of them. According to the UN, 258 million kids are out of school. This number might feel overwhelming. This number might lead to a sense of despair. This number might make you lose sight of a better world. However you feel, do not let it discourage you. We in the Zambia Group believe that if you have the will and the courage to act, we can all make a difference. One person cannot put all 258 million kids through school! Not even all of us at this school could do that! That is why it is important to think of what you can do and make sure you do it, because you count. Your contribution, whether it is to apply to become a board member, buy some homemade cakes in the corridor or to volunteer at an event, is a part of something bigger. With joint effort, we can make a real difference. Every year, Zambia Group sends the money it has raised down to two schools in Zambia, one in the capital of Lusaka and one in the town of Livingstone. The money is usually enough to sponsor 30-40 children. 30-40 is no way near 258 million, but every single child we can help counts as it is one more life that has been given a greater opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their family. With your help, engagement, and contribution, we may be able to reach greater numbers.
Why the Zambia Group? Why should you give money to a student organisation that is only doing small scale work? Why not donate to a bigger, more well-known organisation? Also, should you be trusting us with your money? Do we actually make a difference? These are all reasonable questions and lucky for us, we have some answers:
We cannot deny that our work, especially compared to global organisations, is very small-scale and that we simply cannot compete with their numbers. Instead, we will make clear for you how you can be certain that your contribution truly goes towards our purpose of sponsoring children’s education in Zambia. We are trustworthy because our work is checked every single year through the Zambia trip connected to the course Global Health and Development, where a group of students and a few teachers go to Lusaka and Livingstone, where the two schools are, and get to tour the schools and talk to teachers and students there. There are also teachers that keep in touch with people in Zambia throughout the year and have done so for many years, meaning they have strong, long-lasting bonds with the people that are responsible for the money once it reaches Zambia. We also receive a list of all students that have been sponsored and some teachers at our school have been able to follow some of the sponsored students in Zambia for several years. In other words, what we do is being followed-up annually, primarily by teachers at our school who have years of experience in working with the Zambia Group and who know our contacts in Zambia well. You can be confident that your contribution goes towards our purpose, and as long as you believe education is important, your contribution will never feel wasted.
To conclude, the association of the Zambia Group not only believes, but knows education is a fundamental human right that enables people to create more opportunities for their future. Our purpose is therefore to enable as many students as possible to be able to attend school, which is why we donate the money we raise yearly to pay for children’s tuition at two schools in Zambia, where lack of access to education is a problem. This matter is not a problem in all countries, for example it is not an issue in Sweden since you are not obligated to pay to get an education. It is deeply unfair that the country you are born in, a matter in which you have no say, is able to affect your entire life, which is why we believe that it is important that those who can, do their best to help level the playing field. As the world is today, education is a privilege when it should be a fundamental right. Some of you may have doubts about us – can a small student run organisation make a real difference? Hopefully, by reading this text, you will notice that we are both passionate and very serious about this topic. We have also explained how our work is reviewed and checked annually by making actual visits to the schools, getting lists of the sponsored students and through the close contacts that our teachers have established with those in Zambia. We want to make a difference in the world, for the better. Join the change!
Cajsa Pettersson | 24 Mar
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