EDUCATIONAL SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
Lillian Mushe, grade 11 Livingstone High School, Zambia
The AACDP began supporting young people that we knew through the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home network very early in our existence. Much of the money raised for this purpose was through the sale of African crafts at sales at flea markets during the summer and through Italian tours which I began to lead in 2013. When the pandemic halted both of these income sources I decided to send out a letter to all our friends and contributors with descriptions of our scholarship students and the costs to cover their tuitions and expenses.
By American standards, tuitions in Zambia are very reasonable. High school costs from $80 a semester to $150. There is no free public education, though it is supposed to be guaranteed by the government. But economic government crisis has meant little or no funds for public schools. In practice, children are "chased away" if they cannot pay. Higher learning varies from $850 to $1600 per year, often with additional costs for computers and living costs.
The response to our call for help with sending children of families within the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home and Zambezi Doll Company community has been encouraging.
Busiku Mpongo and her daughter Rachael
Busiku and her daughter have lead a very difficult life, moving often in an attempt to find work. I met her working for a small school as an assistant for $70 per month, and supporting her parents and siblings at the same time. Her dream was to go to school and become a physiotherapist. I sent out the first newsletter last year looking for sponsors for six deserving young people who had never had money for consistent attendance at school. She found financial help with a generous couple from Massachusetts and began the considerable task of catching up scholastically.
It has been a struggle to do the work after a lifetime of spotty education, but Busiku has worked hard and is now in her third semester at Evelyn Hone College and thrilled to be there.