Chilongozi School

Chilongozi Staff

Lu standing with the Chilongozi staff

Chilongozi School is situated in an extremely rural area within the Luangwa Valley which is inaccessible for 6 months of the year. On our first visit in 2002 there was only one teacher for 200 children, the classrooms had no roofs and there were very few desks and chairs and no books. There are currently 210 pupils and 7 teachers of which Sausage Tree pays for three of them. There are only 4 classrooms at Chilongozi so the teaching has to be done on a rotational basis. Grades 5-9 start school at 7.20am and finish at lunch. After lunch grades 1 -4 attend school and finish at 4.30. A very long day for the teachers.

The school now teaches students in grade 8 and 9. This extension enables children to stay at school longer. The nearest secondary school is so far away that they would have to board and many struggle to afford the cost of boarding. In 2013 53 pupils registered for grade 9.

In 2008/2009 we built a new teacher’s house with the help from the village who made all the bricks. There are currently 7 teachers at the school but only 4 teachers’ houses. The staff without housing have to rent in the local village which is far from perfect and puts extra strain on the teachers, sometimes they leave and go back to their native villages.

Head Teachers house built by Sausage Tree

Head Teachers house built by Sausage Tree

We visited the school for the 5th time in September 2013 and because of its remoteness Haggai our colleague on the ground out there had not been able to contact them to tell them of our arrival. After a three hour drive on a dirt track we arrived on their first day of school to see it buzzing with children in class and others who were arriving for the afternoon session. We were shown round by the deputy head Mr Matanda who has been at the school for a long time and was eager to tell us about all the good things they were going.

Lu with Matilda one of teachers Sausage Tree sponsors at Chilongozi

Lu with Matilda one of teachers Sausage Tree sponsors at Chilongozi

On walking into the heads office we were thrilled to see a hive of activity. The room was full of signs and posters with all sort of information about the school on them. There were lists of documented books, school rules, clubs and so much more. He even had a large locked and barred cupboard for the exam papers!

School Clubs

  • Conservation
  • Nataaz – learning about tradition
  • JET – junior engineering
  • Scripture Union
  • HIV / AIDS
Chilongozi pupils

Chilongozi pupils about to attend afternoon school

He was keen to tell us about the successful exam results the children gain and was thankful to sausage tree for paying for 3 students each year to go to Secondary School. He expressed concerns about what might happen to the current grade 9’s after passing their exams. Many will not be able to afford the Secondary School fees for boarding school which is their only option as there are no secondary schools in the local area.

He also expressed concerns for the girls at grade 10, informing us that girls that have passed grade 9 exams were unable to go to Secondary school as their families were marrying them off.

Current and ongoing projects

  • Sausage Tree helps pay for the employment of 3 teachers. The government now pays for 3 teacher’s salaries, bringing the total number to 6.
  • In 2008 Sausage Tree supplied £3200 worth of new text books.
  • Provision of stationery, educational resources and books.
  • Provision of funds for the district sports competition twice a year.

Future projects

  • Tree planting scheme.
  • Providing grants that would allow some of the growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children to attend secondary school.
  • More reading and writing resources.