Tikondane Community School, Zambia

The students of Tikondane Community School in Katete, Zambia, present their city and their school.


We live in Zambia, a large country in Southern Africa with a population of around 12 million.  The country is landlocked but is bordered by a very large river, the Zambezi.  Close to the city of Livingstone, the river forms the famous Victoria Falls which measure 1700 meters wide and up to 108 meters high.  The falls are classed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  Maybe you have heard of them? 

A lot of tourists come to visit Victoria Falls.  They also appreciate our National Parks where you can see wild animals like elephants and hippos.  Zambia is also known for its mines.  You can find gold, copper and precious stones, like emeralds. 

We live in the city of Katete in the east of the country, not far from the border with Malawi.  Approximately 220 000 people live in our district.  The majority are farmers.  The principal crop is corn.  Very few people have paid work.  The unemployment rate is 80%. 

Thanks to Elke, a German  nurse, the Tikondane community was born.  It's like a little village, with a barber, baker, hotel, bike repair shop, vegetable garden, goats, and rabbits, except the profits generated are used to improve the quality of life in the community.  We benefit directly because, due to this, school is entirely free. We are supplied with pencils, bags, books and exercise books.  When school is over our parents are able to use them as well.  Even though most kids our age go to school, many of our parents never had the opportunity. 

The community school welcomes 565 students and employs 13 teachers.  We are each supplied with pencils, a school bag, books, and exercise books.  When school is over our parents are able to use them as well.  Even though most kids our age go to school, many of our parents never had the opportunity.

Here primary school starts in Grade 1 at 7 years old.  In Grade 7 we must pass an exam to continue with our studies.  Secondary school is from Grade 10 to 12.  After that it is University.  Our school goes until Grade 7 and then we need to change schools.

Everyone starts school at 7:30 a.m.  From Grades 1 to 4 they finish at 10:30 a.m.  Starting in Grade 5 we have class until 1:30 p.m.  When we arrive in the morning it is our responsibility to make sure the classroom is clean.  In each class there are around 50 students and nothing is set in stone.  Some students even have class outside is the shade.

During the first years classes are taught in Chichewa, our maternal language, and we study English as a subject.  After that is is the inverse and classes are taught primarily in English.  In the morning, if there are enough reserves, we each receive a bowl of porridge.  When this is not the case, some of us bring an ear of corn or a guava to eat during the break.  For some, it is the only food they have all morning.

Here the school year starts in January and we have a month of vacation in April, August and December. 

And your school?  How does is work?  Do you ever have classes outside?  Do you get served porridge in the morning?  We are waiting for your responses


My name is Mirriam Phiri.  I am 18 years old and I am in Grade 6.  I don't live far from the school so I can walk there in a few minutes.  When I come home in the afternoon I help my mother with the cooking. 

My name is Dalisoul Sakala.  I am 14 years old and in the same class as my friend.  I live right next to the school.  At home I help my parents and I love reading books. 

What sport or activity do you do outside of school?
Mirriam: Volleyball.
Dalisoul: Football (soccer).

What is your favorite food?
Mirriam: N'shima, a paste made with corn flour that we eat with our hands.  We almost always have it at home. 
Dalisoul: N'shima.

What is your favorite game?
Mirriam: Singing and dancing with friends.
Dalisoul: Football (soccer)!

What is your favorite animal?
Mirriam: I really like dogs.  I have a guard dog at home. 
Dalisoul: Cheetahs.  I would love to see one one day. 

What subject do you prefer? 
Mirriam: Math.
Dalisoul: English.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Mirriam: Teacher.
Dalisoul: Doctor or air traffic controller.

We would love to hear what your houses and stores are like and what games you like playing.  Thanks in advance for your responses. 

If you would like to learn more about or contact the Tikondane community school visit: www.tikondane.org .

You can also contact Adeline and Olivier.  We are waiting for your letters and drawings.


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