Zambia Exchange Programme

Our Zambian Exchange Programme links Kingsmead School with Mukuba Boys’ and Helen Kaunda Girls’ Schools in Kitwe, Zambia.  The programme follows a two year cycle where both students and teachers make reciprocal exchange visits.  The first exchange took place in 2000-2001 and since then 96 Kingsmead students have taken part in this life changing experience.

In each two year cycle just 12 Kingsmead students are able to be selected, ideally with an equal mix of boys and girls from Years 9 and 10.  Our students are partnered with students from Kitwe.  We are now in our ninth exchange which is running from 2015-2017.  The Zambian students and teachers will travel to the UK to stay with their host families in July 2016.  In July 2017 our students and teachers will make the return visit staying with their partners.  Each visit lasts approximately two weeks.  By staying with partners in their homes students really do become part of the family and gain a stronger insight into the differences and similarities in culture and lifestyle.

Fund raising is a key element of the programme which students, staff and parents are all involved in.  Sweet and cake sales, quiz nights, school discos, auctions of promises and ‘Murder-Mystery’ evenings are just some of the events that have taken place.

Details of forthcoming events are advised on the Kingsmead Home Page, in the School Newsletter and on the Zambia Exchange 2015-17 Facebook page.

A Student’s view

My trip to Africa is something I will carry with me for life.  It is a strange feeling being a minority in such a vast place, treated like precious art merely because of the colour of your skin, this in a land filled with more beauty than ever imaginable.  The people are so humble inside and out, they are warm, kind and protective towards you even though they do not really know you.  It is the most welcoming place and I am so overwhelmingly grateful to know I have a newly made family in such a glorious place. 

To live 3 weeks of your life 27 hours, two days, half way across the Earth from home with a new and fresh family is a pretty insane concept - entering into the culture and ways of a family you have never met before other than on a computer screen.  But I can honestly say I have never felt so at home, from the moment I stepped off our bus to be greeted with pink roses and pretty words and welcoming’s from each member of the family.  I automatically knew I had made the best decision of my life to sign up for this journey and that two years’ worth of hard work was worth it. 

My most memorable moment was the visit to St. Anthony’s, a community school run on kindness and donations.  St. Anthony’s is surrounded by a home-made village of wooden shacks where families live and bring up their children.  Here, children play around the school yard.  One girl impacted upon me in particular.  She was 7 and on her back a baby of about 18 months, wrapped in cloth.  She had no idea where her parents were or how old her baby brother was.  She and her sibling live alone. 

Connie Pollock (Exchange student 2013 – 2015)