After the successful partnership between Mandia School and the lodge, the company directors were extremely keen to further their commitment to education and so in 2008 the lodge joined forces with the British based charity The U Foundation, to assist with the building of a nursery school for the local community.
It became apparent that education levels and social skills amongst the children could be improved in those still too young to attend government schools. By setting up a nursery school, children under seven would have the opportunity to ‘learn through play’ in a safe environment. To assist with this, The U Foundation and the lodge sponsored one of the lodge employees to attend teachers training college and after two years Malindi Lubinda graduated with flying colours. He returned to the community and began teaching a handful of children aged 3 to 6 years in a tiny out building of the local church. The U Foundation kindly assisted with desks, chairs and teaching materials but it was clear that if this was to be a long-term project a bigger school building would be required.
Through many fund-raising efforts from The U Foundation and former guests at the lodge, enough money was raised to build a custom-made pre-school. The Chief of the Siankaba area kindly allotted one acre of land to the building of this school which opened in January 2010. Since then, the nursery school has been a great success, with the number of pupils, all from local villages, now reaching over forty. The school also employs a second teacher, Constance, due to the rise in numbers of children attending. The first few groups of pupils who started at Siankaba nursery school have now moved on to attend the Mandia Primary school and have been doing exceptionally well.
The school now has solar electrification and a borehole providing the school with electricity, running water and flushing toilets. Uniforms have been provided by the lodge and the pupils have helped establish a vegetable garden with seeds provided by UK schools. A generous donation from a former guest has allowed a food program to be set up giving every child a regular meal. With ongoing support, we hope to make this a long-term project. Other donations from guests have allowed a jungle gym to be built as well as shoes provided for each of the children.
As the school relies on donations to keep it running and receives no government funding, you can help us by supporting our Sponsor a teacher scheme. This will allow us to cover daily running costs, continue to provide an income for our teachers and help with the upkeep of the school buildings. The teachers are the absolute backbone of the school and are vital in the development of ‘our’ children.
For more information, please visit the Siankaba Trust Facebook page.