By Bellah Zulu, ACNS
The Anglican Church in Zambia has brought hope to a rural primary school after it linked the school up with an international charity to install solar powered lighting systems in its classrooms.
Morris Ngenda is one of the pupils at the school and could not hide his excitement over the new development: “I can now study at night because lights are now on,” he said. He thanked God for the new development and said he will be studying hard to pass his grade 9 examinations.
The Livingstone-based Mahululo Primary School, like many other primary schools in rural Zambia, has never been connected to the power grid and hence pupils were limited to only studying during the day.
“We are the facilitators who did the ground work and connected the school to our UK partners,” said Fr Emmanuel Chikoya, an Anglican Priest working from Livingstone, Zambia. “We are local partners for the international charity Lights For Learning from the UK.”
He added, “This school is about 25 kms from Livingstone and had no electrical power at time we interacted with them and I felt they would be better beneficiaries of the solar panels that I had found during my 2012 UK visit to the Diocese of Bath and Wells.”
To help overcome the lighting challenges in most of rural Zambia, Lights for Learning have developed a solution to the “lack of lighting after dark, so that life can carry on undisturbed.”
“We have designed a solar powered lighting system that consists of a solar panel which can be fixed to the roof, or alternatively can be placed outside as and when needed,” said the organisation’s Managing Director, Roger Mugridge.
He added: “In this environmentally friendly, and affordable system, the light bulbs are LEDs (light emitting diodes) which, on average will last for 20 years. They do not get hot, and they run from twelve volts, hence eliminating all chances of getting burnt or being electrocuted.”
“Ever since the school was built, it has never had such a facility,” said the School Co-ordinator, Mr. Oswell Mudenda. “Now we are all extending our great appreciation for the new lights at the school which will make for easy and effective teaching and learning.”
One of the teachers at the school, Mr C. Hakubeza was grateful to the Anglican Church and Lights for Learning because for the first time he will be able to conduct lessons in the evenings or even at night.
“I thank God and the entire Lights for learning crew and Anglican church for the lights, I will now be able to conduct extra lessons even at night on certain topics that pupils find difficult to understand,” he said.
Lights For Learning aim to provide lighting for homes and schools in developing nations to prevent accidents in the home and to enable schools to stay open during hours of darkness thereby providing students with the opportunity to learn.
Despite the long distances that learners have to travel from their homes, they expressed their gratitude to the Anglican Church and Lights for Learning for giving them the chance to study at night so they have a better chance to pass their exams.