Pupils from Lawhead Primary School were in the spotlight this week when their work to help children in a Zambian village was featured on national television news.
The P6/5 class at Lawhead has partnered up with St Andrews University’s Project Zambia and pupils have been fundraising – raising £560 with a bake sale and a sponsored electricity-free day – plus collecting books and shoes for students to take out this summer.
They have also made more personal contact with their Zambian counterparts, exchanging letters through a penpal scheme.
Class teacher Nicole Johnston, having spent time working in Senegal and Malawi, was keen to get involved when the university approached the school.
A key part of the project is helping with teaching and Nicole has been able to pass on skills to staff and also coach some of the university students who will be spending time at the village this summer.
Two of the Lawhead pupils, Maddy Wallard and Harry McLennan, both 10, were interviewed by STV news on Tuesday and did their classmates proud.
“Sometimes you think that you are very unlucky but when you look at different countries, you’re actually really lucky and you get the opportunity that not everyone gets,” Harry told viewers.
Maddy explained the situation faced by her 16-year-old penpal, who wants to be a nurse or a journalist but whose future in uncertain.
“She has to look after her younger siblings so she can’t get what she wants,” Maddy said. “It’s made me see the world in a different way.”
Project Zambia works with the village of Kazemba in the Lusaka province.
Sometimes you think that you are very unlucky but when you look at different countries, you’re actually really lucky and you get the opportunity that not everyone gets.Harry McLennan
It is a poor area, with around half of the 300 children in the village school described as single or double orphans, and the project aims to improve prospects for these vulnerable children.
Cat Wilson, head of student development at the university, co-leads the project with colleague Sam Lister and they will be taking a team of students to the village for six weeks.
“They don’t have electricity in the school,” Cat said. “They have very basic provisions – they have no whiteboards, no computers, no interactive technology to work with.”
She explained that many of the children walk up to 7km to school, are orphaned and from subsistence farms.
The fundraising is to fix the school’s roof, buy new batteries so the school has power, buy laptops for IT lessons, science equipment for practical science lessons and sponsorship for children to go on to high school.
For more information see Project Zambia.