Shine Pupil – Grace Tembo

Shine Pupil – Grace Tembo

Grace Tembo is 10 years old and lives in Kalikiliki with her parents and her five sisters.  She also has two brothers who have both married and left home.  The eight of them live in a small house with only two rooms.  One room is a bedroom for her parents and the other room is a sitting room where the six girls sleep at night.  Cooking, bathing, washing clothes and washing dinner plates all happen outside.  Grace hopes to live in a big house someday where she can have her own room, but for now she is grateful to have a small but peaceful home.

Grace’s father works as a bricklayer and her mother sells vegetables, beans and small dried fish (known as kapenta) and on a small market stall.

Grace used to attend a different community school and was in a large class.  They didn’t teach phonics like they do at Shine and there was no time for reading because the school didn’t have a library or any reading materials for the pupils.  She couldn’t speak any English or understand the lessons being taught in English. Even though she had been at school for a year she couldn’t read any words or even recite the alphabet.  Her mother felt that she wasn’t learning anything and that there was no chance of improvement, so she took Grace out of school as she couldn’t afford to pay for an education that wasn’t helping her child.

It made Grace very sad to stay at home watching her sisters and friends go to school and she longed to go back to school again.  Grace’s mother eventually found a place for her at Shine Zambia Reading Academy, and Grace speaks about her new school with a big smile on her face.  She told her teacher that Shine is the best school because not only do they give a chance to poor children to attend school for free, but because they also give them a chance to fulfill their dream of learning how to read.  Her favourite subject is phonics because it is fun and many games are played during lessons.  She also enjoys playing on the swings in the Shine playground and eating the meal at lunchtime.

Now she can recite the alphabet and read simple words like FISH, FROG and CAT.  Grace wants to be a teacher when she grows up because she wants to help other children in her community.  Thanks to Shine she has hope that this dream can come true.


Shine’s aim is to help children who can’t find school places, can’t afford a school place, or have only attended a school that has not provided a good education.  We offer free, quality education in small classes, with plenty of opportunities to read in our library, play in our playground, eat from our kitchen, participate in our clubs, and be nurtured by our teachers.  Our main goal is to find the most vulnerable children who are not in school and help them to catch up with their peers.  During our intensive 2 year programme we teach children how to read and take them through the equivalent of grades 1-4 in key subjects including English, Maths and Science.  Once they have graduated from the Shine programme we find them a local school place so that they have the opportunity to continue their education with a solid foundation that will give them the opportunity to Shine.

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