Every year, Shine Zambia Reading Academy in Lusaka holds a Spelling Competition. This post is about a recent competition, where we had a separate competition for the Year 1 pupils and the Year 2 pupils. The Year 1 competition was very tough – all of the pupils had learned the words so well in preparation that we had to make up words at the end of the competition to find a winner! We took a very cute photo of the small boy who won the Year 1 competition with the word ‘science’ – but who is this boy?
Frazier Chifunda had previously been to pre-school for one year, where he had learnt the alphabet song and could read a few simple 2 or 3 letter words, such as SHE, IN, AT and THE. But like so many of our pupils he had been unable to go to primary school until Shine enrolled him into our free literacy programme at the age of 9 years old, and he couldn’t speak any English at the time he joined – only Nyanja – one of the local languages.
Frazier lives in one of the compounds surrounding our school. His father left when he was two years old, leaving his mother to support 3 children, as well as supporting her own sister and 4 brothers, with no job. The 9 of them live in a small rented house with 3 rooms (3 rooms, not 3 bedrooms!). They have no running water, but they do have electricity and a pit latrine outside.
Frazier said he had read different types of books in the Shine school library to prepare himself for the competition he felt very excited when he won the spelling competition. His favourite subjects at Shine are Phonics and Guided Reading, and when he grows up he wants to be a pilot.
Both Frazier and his mother are very proud that he is a pupil at Shine Zambia Reading Academy and his life has changed greatly since he came to Shine. He is now able to read and write a lot of words by himself. His mother said he is even teaching his older sister how to read and write.
The fact that Frazier is teaching his older sister who is in Grade 3 at another school already is really wonderful. After only 6 months at Shine Zambia Reading Academy, Frazier has gone from only being able to read a few short words to being able to read the following:
High in the hills they came to a wide ledge where trees grew among the rocks. Grass grew in patches, and the ground was covered with bits of wood from trees blown over a long time ago and dried by the sun. Down in the valley it was already beginning to get dark.