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CH Zambia: Mfuwe Day Secondary School

The challenges of providing education to the area's 600+ high schoolers

by Evan Orensten in Culture on 20 August 2012

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For our first Cool Hunting Edition travel experience we brought 24 friends and readers on safari in Zambia. Over the course of eight days CH Zambia guests experienced the wonders and wildlife of Africa with a few surprises from our brand partners. More stories and videos here.

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Mfuwe Day Secondary School educates more than 600 students in grades 8-12. Started in 2001, it's the only secondary school in the area, with students from several chiefdoms. Some students live too far away to travel the distance every day, so the school also provides boarding for more than 100 students. The school shares a campus with the Mfuwe Basic School (grades 1-7) and has had to use most of its classrooms and other buildings. Support comes through the fundraising efforts of local businesses, nearly all safari-related lodges and guide companies, including Mfuwe Lodge and The Bushcamp Company. In the last year enough money has been raised to build two classroom blocks of three classrooms each, two boys dormitories, and a science lab and classroom. The list of needs is long—more classrooms, bathrooms, bore holes, a library, office space and teacher housing, a sports field—and many of the students need sponsors to assist with, or pay for, their school fees.

Giving back is an important part of our lives, and one of the reasons we selected The Bushcamp Company as our travel partner was their connection to the school. Part of the fees for the lodge include a $10 a day donation to the school. In addition each of our guests also contributed $250. The Bushcamp Company matched these funds, and together we were able to fill one of the new classroom blocks with locally-made desks, and to fill the two new dormitories with beds. Pentax graciously offered to donate cameras for the students to learn photography. We were able to donate a MacBook Pro to help archive and edit their work, as well as four iPads packed with books and apps for the students to use.

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We made two trips to the school during our weeklong visit to the South Luanga National Park. The first day we were presented with a school-wide celebration of singing, dancing and performances by the students. Our second visit allowed our guests to teach seminars on how to use the iPads, basic photography, project management and improv.

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The area's natural resources—and the tourists who come to see them—provide most of the local economy's revenue. Children are taught the importance of respecting the local wildlife, but the fact is that poaching still happens for both sustenance as well as for the income from animals' horns, hides and tusks. Education goes a long way to helping the children, and hopefully their families, understand the long-term benefits to the community are better than the short term gains of poaching.

Malafian Chimungu, an artistically gifted student at the school, takes wire from confiscated snare traps in the South Luangwa National Park and turns it into animal sculptures. He's only allowed to work on his art project outside of school and his homework, but he's able to sell enough of his sculptures to pay for his education and help his family.

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We're working with The Bushcamp Company to help the students at the school through both sponsorship as well as fundraising for larger projects. You can learn more about their efforts here. If you're interested in helping, send us an email to info coolhunting.com and we'll tell you more.

Images by Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten

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