Elmtree School has been involved for many years in developing a link with a school in South Luangwa, Zambia called Katapila School. Katapila is located near Mfuwe in a very remote and poor rural area where there is little employment, a high mortality rate from Aids and malaria and many orphaned children.
Zambians have to pay to educate their children. Many poor families simply cannot afford to send their children to school and, when they do, the children's education is frequently disrupted by further family illness and death. With the help of Project Luangwa, a charity in South Luangwa which aims to give every child a chance to be educated, Elmtree has successfully provided a library filled with books for Katapila School alongside redeveloping our own school library.
We established 'British Airways Pilot Post' working with volunteer pilots and with help from the National Police Aid Charity have, to date, sent almost 100 suitcases filled with donated books and resources to South Luangwa. We have also helped send 5000 dictionaries and recycled school uniform from Chesham Park School (now Chiltern Hills Academy) to Project Luangwa.
Over the years a number of members of staff have visited South Luangwa, organising class to class links, sharing teaching practice and INSET training with teachers in the S Luangwa area. These efforts have already made a big difference to children in Zambia and Elmtree children have learnt a great deal about very different communities, cultures and lifestyles.
Our children have enjoyed interactive assemblies, themed Africa Days including visiting drummers, taken part in joint projects such as tree planting and designing wall hangings which were then made up by Tribal Textiles (a Zambian company) for both schools.
Our children and families have also collected and sent lots of teaching resources including sports, sewing and science equipment through donations and links with other local Chesham charities (WorkAid, SchoolAid and LabAid).
We are constantly striving to develop our links with Zambia, our long term aim being for our children to grow up understanding more about local, national and global issues and appreciating different cultures, life styles and how important sustainability is to our world.
We were very luck to have volunteers to help us build a traditional Zambian round house on the top playground. They were ably assisted by children from Year 1 as part of their topic on homes.
Our international work has already been recognised by our Green Award and having been awarded the Intermediate Award we were awarded the British Council's Full International Award in November 2012.
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Class to Class Elmtree and Katapila
In 2012 a filmmaker from Project Luangwa visited Elmtree to record an interview with some of our teachers and Mrs Smith about our work with Project Luangwa. They also recorded the children here and in Zambia. The short film is lovely and clearly illustrates our link with the Katapila school. It is called ‘Class-To-Class: linking Elmtree School in the UK with Katapila School in Zambia’ and can be seen on You Tube via this link.