Twitti School currently has 479 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 9. Of these students, 31 were fully sponsored by donors in 2017. The school campus has 11 spacious classrooms, 3 separate washroom facilities, a water well, a library and administration building, and a sports field.
When Lydia and Simon Maonde retired from their long careers in education, they took up a new life as farmers in the Lilayi community near Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. The need for a school for the children of the farm workers was apparent and so, in 1994, Mrs. Maonde began to teach 5 pre-schoolers in the Maonde home. Word spread in the community of how well these children were being taught, and parents soon brought others to learn. Since the Maonde sons and daughter had grown and moved away, their 3 small bedrooms became the school classrooms.
By 2005 there were about 200 children coming, in morning and afternoon shifts, to be pupils at this new Twitti School. The name Twitti was chosen since the word ‘twitti’ means the smallest twig, a symbol for these tiny children who were becoming part of the powerful tree of education.When this ‘school in the house’ was reaching its physical limits, an amazing re-connection occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Maonde, by means of the Internet, began to correspond with two Canadians who had worked with them at Namwala Secondary School more than thirty-five years earlier. Mr. Maonde requested their help in financing the construction of a ‘real’ school.
Former CUSO volunteer teachers, Shelley O' Callaghan in British Columbia, and Patricia Ellsworth in New Brunswick, committed to their former Headmaster and his wife to help them build a school, an enduring legacy for the Lilayi community. In 2006, Friends for Zambia Society was established and fund raising began. In 2009, the first 4 classrooms were constructed and each year more facilities were added until 2012 when Twitti School was completed.
By July 2012 when Twitti School had its Official Opening, the campus consisted of 3 classroom buildings comprising 11 classrooms, 3 washroom buildings, a water well and storage tank, a sports field, a basketball court, a playground for the little ones, and an administration building containing offices, a staff room and a library. The campus is surrounded by attractive security fencing and is beautifully landscaped.
Since then a netball court has been added, as well as a sheltered stand for bicycles. Stone walkways between buildings reduce the amount of mud that comes into the classrooms in the rainy season. Benches under the trees offer a shady spot for the children during break times, and a set of outdoor taps serve as a water station for the pupils.
Twitti is currently looking to rebuild their school playground, expand their literacy project, add a school kitchen and dining hall, and provide school bags and shoes for sponsored children. These are their current needs and the next steps that will be taken in order to optimize Twitti's success. To financially contribute to any of these projects, please go to our How to Help page.
The vision of the Lilayi Education Trust is to be the leading provider of quality primary education in the Lilayi – Chilanga area. The Board of Trustees and the Founders of the school are committed to the realization of this vision. They intend to achieve this vision through their mission of providing community-based quality education at an affordable price. Going forward, the Lilayi Education Trust remains steadfast in its efforts to find ways and means of assisting vulnerable children and the struggling parents desiring to educate them. The Board envisages that, when provided with the best education possible in primary school, each student coming through our doors will be given the opportunity to excel beyond Twitti School. And that the education being provided yields life-changing successes with a positive impact on their families and the community as a whole.