The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many changes at Twitti Primary School in Lilayi, Zambia. From class cancellations starting in March to a partial reopening for Grade 7 Classes in June and then a modified return for Grades 1 to 6 for Term 3. Now it is mid-December. What has changed in our beloved school?
The Administration made some difficult decisions:
1. More space was needed for social distancing so the preschool classes were discontinued. No more Baby or Pre-Grade classes, and their teachers were laid off.
2. Other staff changes happened with resulting reductions in costs. Director Arthur Maonde retired and his duties were added to those of the Financial Officer Sidney Maonde, now Acting Director. The Receptionist's duties were added to those of the Librarian, Biseck Banda.
3. Children and teachers began to wear masks. Desks were placed as far apart as possible. Frequent hand-washing was required.
It's not easy wearing a mask all day.
Friends For Zambia, the non-governmental organization (NGO) in Canada, continues to maintain its involvement with the school by supporting projects identified by the Lilayi Education Trust.
In this period of the COVID19 pandemic, FFZ was called upon to find a way to provide some financial aid for the school. The organization was very pleased to be able to assist.
The Directors of FFZ in Canada, Shelley O'Callaghan, Judy Kramer and Patricia Ellsworth, initiated a very successful Fund Raising Campaign to help TPS buy Personal Protective Equipment, to pay staff wages during the shutdown, to install their first solar panels to run the water pump for increased flow so that hand-washing could be effective ,and to purchase a back-up generator for use during frequent power outages.
A strong community statement from Lafarge: "When our communities start to prosper because of our involvement and the Lafarge name becomes synonymous with constant unwavering commitment, then we are on our way to one of our greatest growth objectives: Building a better Zambia.
Soon after an initial connection was made between Twitti School and Lafarge in 2007 by Friends For Zambia, the company made a commitment to provide all the bags of cement required to construct the new Twitti School buildings. The first delivery was made in April 2008, and deliveries continued until the school was complete.