Notre Dame students enjoy life-changing time in Zambia

A group of sixth-form students from Notre Dame High School have spent a 'life-changing' two weeks in Zambia.

The 13 students from the school in Norwich spent seven days teaching at two schools in the capital Lusaka, and found that they also learnt a lot themselves.

Student Louise Evans said: 'My two weeks in Zambia were life changing; the incredible people I met, the relationships that were made and the things I have learnt have inspired me and have driven me to actively help more.'

The students were split into two groups, with some teaching at St Joseph's school in Chilongola and the others at St Antony's school in Makeni.

Louise said: 'The children's willing attitude towards learning is what struck me most.

'I remember walking into a classroom one break time to find a number of grade-one children reading out loud the posters that were used to teach the grade sevens. They were so eager to learn. In the UK, education is more or less a chore for school children. Whereas in the two schools that we taught in, every child seemed to be doing all they could to go to school, with many of the children having to complete a 5km walk to school each day.'

The aim of the trip was to help the Zambian pupils prepare for their forthcoming state exams, while the Norwich students also helped to select four children to sponsor through the next stages of their education.

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The cost of education in Zambia escalates after grade seven and through this �500 sponsorship the children will be able to continue in education for a further five years.

Initially the Notre Dame students created a shortlist of children from the two schools that they felt were most academically able.

These were then discussed with the local priest, teachers and a teacher from Notre Dame as they chose the final four depending on a variety of factors including past test scores, economic situation and future plans.

Louise said: 'We were keen to bring back stories and pictures to share back here in England of the children we taught and so visited the children's homes to meet their families so we could tell people in England about their lives and families. Through visiting the children's families, the group were in addition able to find out about the families' hopes for their child's future, ie whether the family would support their child's education or want them to help run the family business.'