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 more than 250 students and numerous staff from the three schools 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 tenth exchange which is running from 2017-2019. The Zambian students and teachers will travel to the UK to stay with their host families in July 2018. In July 2019 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 Kingsmead Zambia Exchange 2017-19 Facebook page.
A Student’s View
The Kingsmead–Kitwe exchange certainly involved a lot of fundraising over two years, yet finally going to Kitwe, Zambia to stay with our exchange partners in July 2017 seemed to make it all worthwhile.
After a long journey, we arrived late at night to be welcomed by our hosts. We spent days at the boys and girls’ schools, watching traditional performances and listening to the beautiful singing of students our age and younger. We helped out at St Anthony’s, which is a school completely different to our own as it is part of a “shanty compound”. There, we painted an educational mural and improved the classrooms. At Rokana Primary school, we donated books, games and resources. Amongst this, we got to experience the beauty of Zambia by visiting places such as a chimpanzee sanctuary, going on a safari crossing into Botswana and of course the breath-taking Victoria Falls.
Personally, I most enjoyed just being part of my family’s everyday life; meeting neighbours, trying Zambian cuisine (like caterpillars...), going to the mall and markets in Livingstone, and also learning some Bemba (one of the 72 dialects). The exchange is so rewarding - giving a chance to build lifelong friendships; it will broaden your perspective of the world and a trip where you will appreciate other cultures from your own. Yes, it can be challenging at times…but more importantly, it is an adventure!”
Connie Woods Gundry (Exchange Student 2015-17)