On 23 May, The Kantolomba Education and Feeding program reached a major milestone. Over 500 people turned out for an event that will be etched in our memories for a long time to come. Principal Mark Lewis, Reverend Stephen Lee (CEO of SCEA) and myself attended the official opening of the Light Up Ahead School in Kantolomba. The school was established by Swan Christian College in conjunction with a local mission agency Immanuel Mercy Ministries after an Impact Trip in 2008. Now 5 years later, Light Up Ahead School provides food and education for over 160 vulnerable children.
The event caught a lot of media attention with the Guest of Honour being the Vice President of Zambia’s wife Dr Charlotte Scott who was called upon to cut the ribbon and unveil the plaque dedicated in her name. The event also hosted a string of other dignitaries from the Lord Mayor to the District Education Minister. Zambia National Broadcasting network featured the event as part of their main evening news bulletin.
The event started with cultural dancing, singing performances and dramatisations. One of the skits was performed by the ladies in the village and demonstrated the plight they go through as a result of having no medical clinic facility in the compound.
Further speeches by the Director of Immanuel Mercy ministries, Veronica Sikwangala and primary school aged girl Jamilla Chama highlighted other issues that the community faces, such as the water supply having been terminated for the past 6 months and the lack of police presence in the village to protect vulnerable children.
The second lady, Dr Scott, was extremely supportive of the establishment of the Light up Ahead School agreeing that education for vulnerable children would provide a gateway out of poverty. She also stressed that for young children, the importance of accessing schooling that is close to home is why this project is so valuable.
During the event local companies were thanked for their involvement such as Afrox Gas Company who provided school shoes for each child in the school. And other companies were also encouraged to come on board and show their support. Dr Scott made a special point of thanking Swan Christian College for our commitment to this program and emphasised the importance of maintaining partnerships such as the one that has resulted in this school.
The event concluded with a tour of the facilities and photographs with key stakeholders.