Making a difference in the classroom and the community

Education is the cornerstone of the African Education Program (AEP), but it’s just one of many important components. Consider the impact AEP and Amos Youth Centre (AYC) have had on the students, their families, and really the entire Kafue community.

Benard, second from the right, with his three best friends at AYC. The group is known as BBTM (for Benard, Benard, Teddy and Masmo).

“A lot has happened and changed in the community,” said Agnes Banda, the Director of Youth Counseling at AYC. “Like no child defilement, no child abuse, and no early child marriage. The people in the community are appreciating the works of Amos.”

Bana K has three children on scholarship at AEP––Benard, Precious, and Cynthia. All three are excelling academically, socially, and as leaders. You’re not likely to meet three nicer teenagers in Africa or the United States. AEP and AYC have been a major part of their lives.

“It is an organization which has given me hope about the future of my children,” Bana said.

Bana’s son, Benard, a recent 12th grade graduate, hopes to study medicine and become a doctor. He’s thankful to AEP and AYC for providing him the resources to attend secondary school and with helping him develop the habits necessary to succeed there.

“I have learned leadership skills,” he said. “I have also learned determination, the key to success, and also how to work under pressure.  The people from AEP and AYC have kind hearts to sacrifice their own time and money just to help us and see us move forward with our education and lives. This enabled me to concentrate more on my schoolwork without the pressure of being chased from school because of school fees.”

Bertha and two other boarders show off the sweet potatoes grown in the garden.

Bertha, another recent high school graduate, has also flourished under the AEP-AYC umbrella. One of AEP’s true champions, Bertha had to repeat 9th grade a few years ago after being forced to drop out of school.

Heartbreakingly, her aunt actually, “chased me away from her home in Shikoswe, saying she could not manage my school fees.” Bertha landed with her grandparents in Kalunda View, but that was not a long-term solution. Seven family members occupied two rooms, and it wasn’t conducive for a student intent on continuing her education. Bertha’s sponsor helped her move to AYC’s boarding house in Shikoswe.

“It is rented for children who could not afford to go to school due to long distances to walk,” Bertha said. “It is at this shelter where I began to live. AYC paid my school fees, provided food, and I was given kwacha (money) for upkeep every month for me to buy other necessities.”

Bertha plays the recorder , sings and acts in AYC Drama Club.

Bertha has thrived in school, sports, and music over the past few years, and her confidence has also risen. Younger students look up to her and rely on her for insight and experience and appreciate her good heart.

“I am glad they are helping needy children who can’t manage to pay school fees and are thus helping them achieve their goals,” Bertha said. “The youths are encouraged to identify their skills and talents because before we didn’t know what we are good at.  I did not know that I could do better at music and netball and that I could even help other children at the same time.”