Nsobe Community School
Nsobe Community School is a school with a difference in remote rural Zambia, offering a life changing education and hope to the community’s vulnerable children. Nsobe believes in Christ-Centered quality education with employment opportunity, preparing pupils not only for jobs, but for life.
Nsobe has 450 students enrolled across a fully completed primary and secondary campus, taught by 21 dedicated teachers. Passionate about developing and caring for the whole child, a daily feeding scheme is offered, as well as sports, guidance, child protection, early years development, life skills training, and vocational classes. Nsobe students are the bringers of literacy and hope to their homes and will graduate to become professional, educated and skilled citizens who will bring great change to their communities.
Secondary schools in rural areas are rare and inaccessible to children. Teacher Aid has helped to fund and facilitate Nsobe’s complete Secondary Campus. While a solid primary foundation is critical without secondary schooling no student can access trades or academic pathways and future employment. Nsobe also offers vocational skills training in carpentry and tailoring so that those not on the academic path can create their own wealth.
Nsobe Community School is recognized as a model school with excellent results by the Ministry of Education. Teacher Aid hopes that this model of accountability and solid, caring work ethic and interactive, dynamic teaching can be rolled out into future partner schools.
Trustees visit bi-annually to check and monitor development projects and develop relationships with the students, teachers and the Nsobe community.
Founder/Director, Fiona Tomlinson and Head Teacher, Reagan Shipekesa
Nsobe Community School’s Vision Developing the Nation’s human resources through education, personal empowerment and opportunity, for the Glory of God
Why there is a vital need for Nsobe Community School
(In rural Zambia there are not enough schools, with formerly no school accessible to the area’s village children. Ninety percent of the children’s parents are illiterate and live way below the poverty line. There was no school accessible for Nsobe’s community’s children. The closest primary school was over 10km walk both there and back, some of Nsobe’s children walk in from over 14km each day.
Sadly in Zambian remote rural areas there are not enough schools and often class sizes reach from 70 to 100 kids in class, for only 2 hours a day, there are few resources and teacher absenteeism and apathy is rife. There was no secondary school. Families live in poverty, suffer from malnutrition and repeated malaria, with no running water or electricity. A quality education and the hope of future employment and a positive future was not achievable.
Youth unemployment in Zambia is currently over 20%. We wanted to provide a relevant, meaningful education that offered a pathway out of poverty, which is now being achieved at Nsobe Community School)
History of Nsobe Community School
Nsobe Community School was started in 2009 with one grade and 16 children – and has grown a grade a year since. Initially classes were held at Fiona Tomlinson’s house as there were no funds to build a school. Make- shift classes soon were built and the school started to grow. We believed that what was important was the learning and teaching and stimulating interaction – not the buildings. With Teacher Aid’s help and that of other kind donors and grants we have faithfully managed funds and have built and developed our school campus and onsite Teacher Accommodation on a shoestring budget.
NCS is building Safe Houses to offer vulnerable children the chance to finish school and gain control over their futures in a nurturing and protected environment. We also wish to build a full secondary boarding school, so that our community’s boys can also be well looked after and be able to concentrate on their studies, with a percentage of children coming in as fee paying students to ensure the sustainability of the school. Nsobe’s high standards are in demand and this will also help expose our isolated remote rural children to students from more modern and educated homes.
Teacher Aid are currently setting up a Bursary Fund so that students can access tertiary training.
Plans are to develop Nsobe into a Natural Resources College so that our students can learn hands on practical and relevant skills in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, game management and tourism empowering students to create and manage their own rural projects, or work skilled within the private sector, providing much needed natural resources development and wealth and job creation. We also wish to add more skills training.
Community Involvement and Sustainability
We don’t believe in handouts or in creating dependency, all parents have to pay a termly commitment fee to make sure they value the education their children are receiving and are partnering with us to educate their children. This fee for primary is less than 2 pounds a term which does not come close to covering any real costs such as teacher’s salaries, stationery, text books, food and other resources, but often parents cannot even afford this. We allow the parents to come and do manual labour at the school such as painting, cooking, gardening to cover their contribution. No child is ever turned away.
NCS parent body also makes the bricks for all school buildings so that together we are building the future. NCS has an active PTA. Nsobe is recognised as a model school and has the Ministry of Education’s full support. 5 of our teachers are currently on the government payroll and there is every hope that soon we shall become a grant-aided school with the majority of our teachers on the government payroll.
Sustainable social enterprise businesses are being developed to ensure sustainability for the school and income streams for our students. Students are being taught how to grow vegetables and manage laying chickens which in turn support our feeding scheme. Through our vocational classes all school and lodge furniture, décor, craft, school uniforms and reusable sanitary hygiene items are being made for school use and for sale into the greater community of other NGO’s and lodge trade.
Nsobe Game Camp and Farm – stay at a rustic truly Zambian lodge and wildlife park while volunteering.
Nsobe Game Camp opened to the public in 2001, and is part of an integrated beef, pig, fish, game and broiler chicken commercial farm with the intention to provide opportunity, ownership, skills development, market access, wealth creation and a quality and relevant education for the surrounding rural community.
Nsobe Game Camp is situated in 1500 hectares of pristine natural bush with expansive dams and is well stocked with 15 species of Antelope and giraffe, zebra and warthog. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded. There is a variety of accommodation from en-suite safari tents, chalets, self-catering cottages, Mukuyu Bush Camp, our open air Honeymoon suite Miombo Woodland View. There is a restaurant and a campsite all run and serviced by our friendly local staff and community members.
Volunteering is a great way to help make a difference, while enjoying a holiday in Africa. We need all the help we can get, and welcome volunteers of all ages (from gap year to retirees) and skills sets.
Nsobe Camp and Farm supports and financially assists Nsobe Community School, with the Secondary School built on land given to the school by the farm. Both the lodge and the farm supply important hands-on internships and practical work experience and service for the students at NCS. The multi-disciplined food production nature of the farm means present NCS students and future Nsobe Natural Resources College students can gain a wide knowledge of experience and practical best farming techniques as well as skills in the tourism sector (waiters/guides, F and B etc) which is one of Zambia’s largest employment sectors.