Chitambo Elizabeth is a 22 year-old teacher who currently works at Cjikoli Basic School, 4km away from Kalomo town, where our Zambian office is based in the country’s southern province. She lives in Kalomo with her husband, and her baby son, Luck.
Elizabeth knew from a young age that she was destined to become a teacher: “from the time I was born, I have called myself a teacher because even when I was very little, I was always teaching others, and so when I grew up, I thought I could teach a class. You could say that I have always wanted to be a teacher!” Fortunately for Elizabeth, once she finished high school two years ago, the community caught wind of her love for teaching and her natural ability to teach others, and was immediately snapped up by Cjikoli Basic School, despite not holding a teaching qualification.
Elizabeth absolutely loves her job, and told us: “when you are a teacher, you find out a lot of things and learn lots of things because when you are teaching, as you are interacting with pupils, you learn from them and they learn from you also. I am always learning. I am someone who is discovering new things every day.”
Elizabeth is currently teaching 32 pupils (16 boys and 16 girls) in Grade 4: “I like my class very much, and 22 of my pupils can read and write so we are making good progress!” Elizabeth is determined that with lots of hard work, all her pupils will soon be able to read and write! As such, she is committed to ensuring that her students get the best start in life, so that they can enjoy a happy future: “I would like to see all my pupils have a good life, so that they can have everything they need. I don’t want to see them have a life of begging, or suffering. No. I want to see them have their own things. I am teaching them to be independent so when they grow up, they can do things on their own.”
A keen learner, Elizabeth jumped at the opportunity to study for her teaching certificate at Charles Lwenga College. Ever the teacher, Elizabeth tells us that she has even been sharing all her new-found knowledge with her colleagues, and helping them to grasp the teaching concepts which she has been learning. She has now been studying for 18 months, and has enjoyed the experience so far: “it has been a good training; I have learnt a lot of things. Before, I wasn’t trained, but now I know what a teacher does, what I am supposed to do, what I am supposed to teach and how to handle the community.”
Indeed, working at a community school presents its challenges. Elizabeth told us: “Since I am at the school, I have not been paid. I am married so my husband supports me, but for community teachers with no families, it is very hard. It can be discouraging because you work hard and at the end of the day, you get nothing because parents don’t have enough money to pay school fees which pay our salaries.”
We have been so pleased to sponsor Elizabeth through her studies, so that she can hone her natural abilities, and improve her teaching even further. Once Elizabeth gains her recognized teaching qualification, she will be able to be paid by the government which means that she will be fairly compensated for all her hard work! Elizabeth is very happy about this good news and told us: “Thanks, we are so grateful for your help; thank you for sponsoring us – without you we wouldn’t be here and without you, we would not have acquired the knowledge which we have gained here! We are now better teachers because of you!”
Elizabeth has been so thankful for our support but the truth is, it’s been our absolute pleasure, and we cannot wait to watch Elizabeth qualify as a fully certified teacher in December 2015!