The Zawadi School


The Zawadi (‘gift’) Pre-Primary School began as a collection of desks in a tiny room attached to Felistas Kalomo’s house. Through fundraising and tremendous support in London, a school comprising two classrooms, a caretaker’s room and a small office were opened 1999. A new classroom was added in 2006.

The School provides nursery education for 100 children between the ages of three and five over a period of three years, after which they move on to the local primary school at the age of six. We aim to target a roughly equal mix of orphaned or destitute children alongside children with regular families. The orphaned children live with their extended families or with others in the village, thus remaining part of the community.

The children receive basic education in reading, writing and numeracy from our wonderful teachers Helena, Mwanahamisi and Nazaeli. There is also a major emphasis on singing and dancing. There is playground equipment outside including a slide, a seesaw and a large multi-swing. One of the children’s favourite activities of the week is when our rotating team of grandparent storytellers come in for the morning. 

One of the extra benefits of the school is that the children are fed a meal of enriched maize porridge every day, and fresh vegetables when available from the school garden. In times of drought, which can be frequent, this food is vital - for some of the children it is often their first and, in some cases, only meal of the day. The Project nurse, Susan, checks every child monthly and records height, weight and MUAC (mid-upper arm circumference) data.

The presence of nursery schools in the village plays an important role beyond the education of the children. It is also enabling mothers and carers to spend time earning money unencumbered by children too big to be carried and too small for primary school.

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