Shine Pupil – Mary Chiwala

Shine Pupil – Mary Chiwala

Mary Chiwala is an eleven year old pupil at Shine Zambia Reading Academy.  She lives in one of the compounds surrounding Shine called Mtendere East with her Auntie.  Sadly, her Uncle passed away in 2003 and her Auntie was left to bring up their child alone.  Now Mary lives with them and the three share a small house that has just two rooms and no electricity.

Mary’s parents live in a rural village far from the capital city.  They are both unemployed and have five children to look after, so Mary’s only slim chance of getting an education was to come and live with her Auntie in a shanty town just outside of Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka.

Mary enrolled as a pupil at Shine Zambia Reading Academy at the beginning of 2012 and, at the age of 10, had never been to school before.  When she joined Shine she couldn’t write or speak English, but she was able to sing the alphabet song, as some of her friends who went to school in the village had taught her.

Mary was so happy to come to Shine and start to learn how to read and write, and was very excited to see all of the books in the Shine library.  She has put in a lot of effort this year and is now able to write and read stories such as:

We saw the sun.  It made us warm.  Now it was time to go home.  It was a long way to walk.

Mary’s favourite subjects are Guided Reading and English and she wants to become a nurse when she grows up.

Being able to come to school has changed Mary’s life and her Auntie is very grateful for her place at Shine.  Mary is very happy that she can now read and write and really enjoys being able to read lots of books in the library.


Shine’s aim is to help children who can’t find school places, can’t afford a school place, or have only attended schools that have not provided 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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