Emeldah Mwanza is 12 years old and is in the second year of our two year programme at Shine Zambia Reading Academy. She is currently being taught grade 3 and grade 4 work in Maths, English, Social Development Studies, Chinyanja and Science.
Emeldah lives in Kalikiliki with her parents and two of her five siblings. They live together in their two roomed house that has electricity but no running water. They have no bathroom and only a pit latrine outside. Due to the vast number of people living in Kalikiliki, a very poor compound with few employment opportunities, her parents do not have proper jobs. Her father does occasional work such as painting houses and her mother works as a house maid. To survive, Emeldah’s family have to rent the second room in their house out to tenants, so they only have one room to live in and sleep in as a family.
Emeldah attended a small community school for two years when she was very young, but when she came to Shine at the age of 10 she didn’t know how to read or write and couldn’t speak any English. By this age she should have been in grade 5, but she hadn’t even learnt the alphabet during her two years at the school where her parents had been paying fees.
At Shine Zambia Reading Academy Emeldah enjoys reading story books. Her favourite subjects are Science, English and Sight Words. Emeldah is very happy to be at Shine. “It’s nice to be at Shine because they teach us to read and write”. Her parents are very proud of their daughter’s progress and they encourage her to pay extra attention and work hard.
At the end of 2011, after completing year one of our programme at Shine, Emeldah was reading at a high grade 2 level. After two terms in year two at Shine, Emeldah had progressed even further and had a grade 4 reading level. She is looking forward to graduating from Shine Zambia Reading Academy at the end of this year and going into a government school in grade 5 or 6 with a strong foundation that should guarantee great success for her!
Being taught how to read and write has drastically changed Emeldah’s life and her future prospects. She wants to be a nurse and help many people who are sick when she grows up. She also feels the school has helped her to behave well as teachers at Shine are very friendly and honest. “They encourage, correct and speak to us when we are not doing well until we improve”.
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.