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Theresa spoke articulately and with confidence as she faced a room full of people comprised of newly trained Kafwa, community leaders and visitors.  She glanced briefly at the notes she held in her hand as she animatedly expressed gratitude on behalf of the community for the new community school established in their neighborhood.  None of this would be out of the ordinary if it weren’t for the fact that Theresa didn’t learn to read and write until she was 33 years old when her grade-school daughter came home from school each day sharing what she had learned.  Now Theresa plays a major leadership role in her community as an advocate and enthusiastic volunteer for the community school.  Among other things, she supervises a co-op to raise funds to help support the school.  Just imagine the potential unleashed when schools are provided for children who otherwise would never have an opportunity to read simple sentences, write notes, or do simple math.  Like Theresa, they too can accomplish things never before envisioned.

Community health workers (CHW) in Zambia called Kafwa have conducted weekly baby monitoring and mother-education classes in local communities since originally trained by Sherri in 1992. A few years ago they became deeply concerned about the plight of community members gravely ill or dying from AIDS. They subsequently organized a home based care program and recruited other neighborhood volunteers to help. While making home visits they discovered a number of children not attending school due to their home situations.

A group of community members shared their concern and, using their own resources, established two community schools in the summer of 2009. The schools, Ndola-Chipulukusu and Chingola-Kasompe, are run by volunteer community members and are provided at no charge. Classroom space is provided by Community of Christ for the 500 children ages 6-12 enrolled in the two schools. The children span a wide age range but are all in beginning classes since they’ve never attended school before. HealthEd Connect is working jointly with the schools to provide funding for training, necessary equipment, supplies and operations.

The school programs are directed by community appointed principals who work closely with a 12 member community committee. Both schools are overseen by a 5 member Zambian Steering Committee composed of the two school principals, a community health worker, the regional Financial Officer of Community of Christ, and a Registered Nurse who works with AIDS patients.

The Community health workers have been integral to the establishment of the schools because they are trusted and respected by the community, are knowledgeable about the needs of the various community members, and facilitate the enrollment of children in the schools. As a newly trained Kafwa, Theresa now works side-by-side with the other volunteer health workers bringing hope and health care to her community.

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Chipulukusu School
Zambia, Congo