As with everywhere in the world, schools in Zambia have closed and are offering distance learning. No student in Kantolomba has any of the necessary tools to access the offerings: computers, tablets, smart phones, electricity…
In our weekly calls with Theresa we brainstormed dozens of ways to support our students in this time. Each idea ran into a roadblock. The enthusiasm, care, energy, and love of the Living Compassion team has been the resource that fills the gap on the things that are available to most children but not to the children in Kantolomba. It’s been the long hours of dedicated tutoring by our teachers that allows a student to pass an exam, or be able to come to the library to get help to learn to read when she finds herself in grade 4 not knowing how to sound out words, or have Charles’s class to come to if his parents cannot afford to enroll him in government school. But now we can’t convene. How can we reach our children when we cannot be together? At the end of each of these calls with Theresa we would all agree to “sit with it.”
One afternoon, as I was working on another Zambia project, something suddenly sparked. A story suggested itself and with it a way to engage with our children in this time of staying home. I opened a laptop and got to work. Theresa has just collected from the local state-of-the-art printing press in Ndola (that is a whole other article in itself that we shall tell at some point!) 250 copies of the little book Children Are Staying Home. I invite you to read an electronic version of the pdf proof from the printer.
On our call with Theresa this week, in a conversation we were having around the virus and all that is going on in the world, there came a long silence. It felt like an expression of “It’s hard, it can feel overwhelming.” At the end of the silence Theresa said, “I am very excited to collect the books tomorrow.”
Subsequently, this email and photo came from Theresa: “The book is here! Thank you, team.”