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Education is a top priority for the local communities. One of our first projects was the building of a new primary school In Supinho. In Idugo, where school attendance levels are very low, we joined a nationwide network promoting girl’s education and raising awareness of children’s rights. With the support of Irish Aid in Mozamique, our work aimed at promoting children’s education has been developed and branched out to include both local communities. The success of our work with primary school children has prompted us to expand our focus to include secondary school education and the Foundation is currently sponsoring the secondary schooling of eight young girls. We have also supported literacy classes for adults, primarily women.

A new School for Supinho

When we arrived in Supinho, the existing school was in a dire condition. There were no benches or chairs for the children to sit, the metal roofing of the classrooms was unstable and provided limited, if any protection against the rain and the sun and the teachers had no desks or administrative facilities. School attendance levels were very low, among both pupils and school teachers. In light of this situation, parents expressed deep concerns about their children’s education and prospects for the future.

In response to these concerns, the Zalala Foundation decided to prioritise accessing funding for the building of a new school for the village. In 2014, in partnership with a national Mozambican NGO, Kulima, we submitted an application for funding from the humanitarian grant assistance programme of the Japanese Government in Mozambique. The plan included 3 large classrooms, latrines and administrative facilities for the teachers. Towards the end of 2014, we were informed of the successful outcome of our application and received a grant of $84,000. Construction began immediately and the new school was completed by the end of that year.

Whilst the school was still under construction, the Zalala Foundation undertook further fundraising efforts to pay for school benches for the pupils and desks and chairs for the teachers. Now the children sit at desks and their learning experience has been transformed. In addition, we successfully applied for funding from the Italian Development Corporation for a well providing drinking water for the children at the school.The children’s mothers report they can no longer keep their children at home – come rain or shine, they are eager to get to school! As well as the major benefits for children in Supinho, the school has also benefited other members of the community and the classrooms have been used for adult education and training programmes funded by the Zalala Foundation at weekends and evenings.