Rebeca Saiz, Independent Missionary (Zambia)

Written by Rebeca Saiz, Independent Missionary

I’ve been a missionary for 22 years, I’ve worked as a volunteer and lived in about 30 countries around the world. Though the charity and humanitarian projects varied, they always involved the welfare and education of children. I’ve been in Zambia for 7 years, working as a volunteer teacher and relief coordinator. I’ve been based out of 4 cities where we established and run institutions for children (orphanage, home, street kids centre), but I’ve travelled all around with different temporary projects.

saizI’m an independent, self-supporting missionary and I’m affiliated with the CBC Ministries Zambia. (CBC stands for Christian Bible Church, a local Church founded in 1983, by local pastors). As an under-qualified nurse I’ve also taken part in medical camps and outreach programs along the lines of Aids awareness, pregnancy, natural delivery, health and hygiene. In one capacity or another I’ve been directly involved with the centers that receive sponsored materials from BrillKids.

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[pink]I’m a true believer of early learning, but given the level of education in this part of the world, I have used visual tools similar to Little Reader and Little Math for a variety of purposes such as:[/pink]

Teaching English

English is the official language of Zambia, but there are 72 tribal languages, 4 of which are wide spread. With few exceptions all governmental schools teach in one of the 4 local languages. More than 80% of the schooled children attend governmental schools. Yet, to get any job, even something menial as house maid, they need to speak English. Therefore the need for schooling in English is very great.

As a literacy tool for both children and adults

Due to the poverty and lack of resources, even those children that attend governmental school rarely are able to read and write at the end of primary school. Furthermore, due to the african culture, families chose to school the boys above the girls and as a result there’s a high procentage of girls age 15-25 that are illiterate & do not speak English. The only way that outside organizations and volunteers can help them is through visual and audio tools.

As an early learning tool

I have a little girl age 2.8. and my collegues (a missionary family with 8 children) have 3 children under the age of 5. Us mommies feel very strongly about early learning. My little girl, Angelina, though not so advanced like Felicity from the BrillKids site, learned a lot from just being there when I conduct my educational programs.

The centers that receive sponsored materials from BrillKids are all founded and run by independent missionaries. All of us coordinators and founders worked together on different outreach programs and we continue to work & support each other in whatever ways we can. Personally I conduct regularly training seminars for the teachers, helpers and coordinators of these institutions.

You have noticed that in some cases the number of children it’s not fixed, it’s due to the fact that the number changes daily for various reasons, death, open centre (street kids come and go as they please during the 6 month ‘transition period’, community schools are also open, one day 150 children can show up, the next weeks only 20 because parents use the kids for labor or the rains do not allow them to walk the many kilometers to the school).

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Centers benefiting from EEECF scholarships:

Busy Bug Mission School, 8kids, 
Sukhacheva Elena in Hill Crest, Ndola, Zambia
A home school for the small children of the missionaries working on the Nsobe development beekeeping program

Nsobe Community School, Zambia
64 children: a community school that’s just being established, the only school for dozens of villages, in a remote area of Zambia.

Fair Heaven Preschool, 12th Street, Chingola, Zambia
250 children: A well established preschool whose teachers finished a vocational program and attend regularly training seminars with the goal of reaching an international level of teaching in the preschool.

Care for kids, Care for kids Farm, Makeni, Lusaka
More than 100 children: An orphanage for double orphan children and abandoned children because of AIDS reasons.

Bwanji Kids, Street Children Centre, N’gombe, Lusaka
(Bwanji = Hello in local language Nianja). 35 to 50 children
Temwani Preschool, Kwacha Road, Lusaka
100 children (Temwani=Love in Nianja).
A preschool that aims to provide high level of education for struggling middle class Zambians whose children show promising signs of brightness. Majority of children are sponsored.)

Crown of life Preschool, N’gombe, Lusaka 
Over 100 children: This is a community type of preschool. The children are from very poor families and it’s only a first step towards providing a semblance of education.

CAES – Kazembe Orphanage, Kazembe, Zambia
About 25 children: An orphanage in a very remote area of Zambia, in the North-West close to the border with DR Congo. This institution takes babies right after birth when mothers die at birth due to AIDS complications. Due to exceptional care in a virus free environment, 80% of the babies go on living and grow without the virus. The remaining 80% are children that die due to the virus or live on medication.