Raise a Smile has always supported bright pupils to achieve their potential through our school fee sponsorship scheme. We started with our first 2 pupils back in 2009, and the numbers have increased gradually over the years until today, when we currently support 30 pupils.
However, in rural areas where we work, we have witnessed first hand that the demand for sponsorship far exceeds what we have previously been able to provide.
The vast majority of people in rural areas of Zambia are subsistence farmers, meaning they have little or no income to spare for school fees, uniform and stationery costs. This leaves a large number of school aged children either never attending school at all or dropping out at secondary level (where the fees are often many times more than those of primary schools). The problem is even greater for girls, many of whom get pregnant or are married off before completing their education. A Zambian government study in 2007 found that less than 1% of girls in rural areas had completed secondary school.
If rural areas are going to develop it is vital that education is accessible for everyone not just those in the larger cities. Unemployment levels remain high in rural areas while it is very common to see people brought in from cities to take jobs that locals are unable to fill due to a lack of education.
This is why we have decided to expand our school fee programme with a greater emphasis on rural secondary school pupils (especially girls). We aim to double the number of Raise a Smile sponsored pupils in the next two years, and continue to increase the numbers from there.
A sponsored pupil on our school fee scheme will have their school fees, boarding fees (if applicable) uniform and stationery costs covered, which can run to over €350 a year for a pupil in a secondary school with boarding. In return we expect a high level of attendance, behaviour and hard work. We meet with pupils throughout the school year to check termly reports and to seek solutions to any problems they may be experiencing.
You can help us sponsor more pupils to complete thier education: Click here to make a donation.