Friday, 1 December 2017

Buy The Book

The teachers at the schools we partner with daily commit themselves to teaching their classes despite facing challenges of limited classroom resources. In 2014 the Zambian government made significant changes to the Zambian Curriculum and over the last few years the government have rolled out a wide range of textbooks to assist in its implementation. Unfortunately, textbooks are expensive for schools to purchase so teachers often only have one or two textbooks per class for up to 45 pupils. This means that children either crowd around textbooks that are available, or the teacher ends up using significant portions of the lesson copying large bodies of the text, including diagrams, onto the chalkboard for children to gain access to the exercise the teacher wants them to complete. 

This Christmas, Beyond Ourselves is running a campaign especially to help schools in Zambia purchase these most valued of resources.

One textbook for just £5.00 (

A set of five textbooks for £25.00 (

This Christmas, would you gift a book to Zambia?

Do it, Buy the Book, Change a Life.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Huge Potential of Jolly Phonics

We could be on the cusp of something significant.

In the last 18 months Beyond Ourselves has grown links with Jolly Phonics (a literacy programme based in the UK which has had significant success worldwide). In the past Jolly Phonics has given us some resources to use in the schools we’re working with, but last February the founder, Christopher Jolly, came out to Zambia to explore the potential for how Zambia could benefit from Jolly Phonics.

Long story short, in September 2017 Christopher and myself presented to the Permanent Secretary for General Education, who then commissioned a couple of pilots of Jolly Phonics in 9 schools in Ndola and further 9 in Lusaka. Beyond Ourselves is taking on the role of managing these pilots, making sure they happen and trying to ensure that the pilots are as effective as possible.

Meeting with the Permanent Secretary for Education about the Jolly Phonics Pilot we're overseeing in Zambia

           Chris Jolly explaining how Jolly Phonics could transform literacy levels across Zambia        
If things proceed on schedule (and that’s a big IF, the road to success is often bumpy and potholed here) we could be in for a significant year as we see an impact in the literacy levels of these schools.

Jolly phonics has already travelled this journey in Nigeria where it is now part of the National Curriculum after proving itself in a number of successful pilots. Therefore it feels as though it is not unreasonable to be excited about the potential that we could be involved with raising literacy levels of the nation.

As I said, we could be on the cusp of something significant.

By Dan Whitcombe
Dan and his wife oversee the work of Beyond Ourselves in Zambia and have been living in Ndola since 2013.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Joy At Kawama As The New Classroom Block Is Built

“The building is finally complete!” says teacher Florence (baby class teacher) with a huge smile on her face. Kawama Community School has not had an early years classroom since its inception in 2008.

Both the baby class and reception class used to use the church hall as their classroom and it used to be a lot of work because every morning the teachers had to set it up, put posters and pictures on the wall as well as all their teaching aids. After knocking off, the teachers would remove their teaching aids off the walls. This process was time consuming and every time she set up the posters, teacher Florence always hoped for a more permanent class for the early years classes. This was not good for the teaching aids as their life was reducing at a quicker rate.

Using the church hall as classrooms was hard as sometimes the church building needed to be used for some other church programmes during the week. The babies didn’t have a permanent place to call their own.

With so much delight, teacher Annie (reception class teacher) shares how happy she is with the completion of the new classroom block and she is thankful to all that made it possible for this building to be complete. She adds that the teachers have proudly displayed all the pictures, posters and teaching aids and these aids will no doubt have a longer life span. Now the children have big classes with their own storage area.

Mary (the Head teacher) was filled with so much joy and gratitude for the completion of the early years class. Cephas (the School Director) could not hide his joy as he shared his delight and gratitude on the completion of the early years classroom block. He was thankful to Beyond Ourselves and its partners for making it possible for the completion of the building and making the babies’ dreams become a reality. He also thanked the community for their contribution by supporting the clothing sale that helped raise some money for the building.

Indeed, there is nothing more fulfilling than putting a smile on a little child, it gives hope that the future is not as dark as they may have thought. Thank you to all our partners.

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Admin Team Trip To Zambia

Thoughts from Sue and Nicole who came on our admin trip in October...

"My recent trip to Zambia with the Beyond Ourselves team was an education beyond anything I could have imagined.

Our days were kept very busy visiting the various schools where we interviewed the children and their parents/carers. It was such a pleasure to meet and learn more about the families and their culture. They are so grateful for their education and the opportunities they have been given. The children are full of smiles and very proud in their school uniforms. They’re always ready to have their picture taken!

I found the visits into the local community homes particularly humbling where the adults are imaginative and industrious in their mission to provide for their families. They go about their day with calmness and peace despite the many challenges that they face.

I’d heard a lot over the years about the great work the Beyond Ourselves team do in Zambia and felt extremely privileged to experience it first hand. You guys are amazing. Your dedication and commitment to making a difference in Zambia is something to be very proud of."

- Sue Coates

"The October Admin Team trip was my first time to Ndola, Zambia, and my first time to Africa! It was a pack-full week with new and different experiences I have ever come across. We interviewed students with their families and were graciously welcomed by local Zambians, from various communities, into their homes, both of which put life into perspective and reminded me to be grateful and humble for everything I am blessed with. At the interviews, what quickly became apparent to me was the joy the students felt in attending their respective schools, the dedication and passion the teachers have for their profession, and just how much the schools have helped improve the lives of many vulnerable children and the community as a whole! Overall, the trip was an important learning curve for life-lessons and it made me aware of all the good hard work Beyond Ourselves carries out, always striving to enable the locals to feel powerful and self-sustainable. I am so thankful to have been part of something that is bigger than myself."

- Nicole Thomas

Monday, 23 October 2017

Royal Parks Half Marathon

Another beautiful sunny morning for the Royal Parks Half Marathon which took place on 8th October.

This year we had 10 brilliant runners – 6 from Cranleigh School, 3 from Citi Bank and Ollie from Christ Church Cockfosters – all with the aim of getting round as fast as they could AND raising funds for Beyond Ourselves.

Well done to:

Sam Cooke, Melanie Hill, Amanda Reader, Claire Lock, Annie Seargent, Alex Forsdike, Tim Tilley, Josh Mulley, Alan Oakley & Ollie McGahon.

And a big THANK YOU for raising over £4,000!

Tim, Jerry (supporter this year) and Alan
Sam, Alex, Claire, Amanda, Melanie (Behind) and Annie

Ollie McGahon

If anyone is interested in running the Royal Parks next year, let Karen know.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

International Teachers' Day

International or World teachers day is celebrated on 5th October every year.

It is a time to celebrate the many great achievements of teachers from all around the world.


In Zambia we call this day ‘Teachers appreciation day’ and teachers are often acknowledged in some way for the great work they do.

The theme for 2017 is ‘Teaching in freedom, empowering teaching.’ A theme that is perfect for the relationship we have with our schools. Our head-teachers work hard to motivate and empower the teachers in their schools and love to celebrate their successes, as do we. 

Here is teacher Patricia celebrating the children’s efforts with her grade 1 class:

According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the world needs 69 Million teachers if we are to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030. But the challenge is more than just a number problem it is also about ensuring good quality of teaching and learning within schools.

The school we work with are community schools, which means they have been set up as a community need but do not receive government funding for salaries. Beyond Ourselves pays the wages for 31 different teachers and we would love to ensure the teachers salaries continue to be paid each month.
So this month we’d like to ask you if you would consider making a contribution towards these salaries to help us continue celebrating and valuing the hard our teachers do. 

The link below will take you to our gift page. You can make a one off donation, commit to sponsoring monthly or even pay a years salary

Thank you on behalf of the Zambian teachers we work with - we are so grateful for all the support we receive.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Cranleigh and Kawama School Milestone Celebrations

Over 250 staff and students at Cranleigh School have now visited Zambia and have been privileged to witness the development of Kawama Community School and the impact it’s had on the community around it. One member of staff on our most recent trip, who had been on our very first visit back in 2011, was moved to tears to see the transformation that had taken place. I know what an impact these visits can have on young people. It stirs something in them. Maybe they have never considered what poverty really is or means, and for the first time they see that it is almost never self inflicted, that people who are poor lack opportunity and when they do have employment, often work longer hours and in more challenging conditions than most of us will ever experience. Some start to consider the tricky issues such as the role of wealthy countries in contributing to poverty and dependency and how to promote sustainability. Beyond Ourselves encourages all the students who visit the partnerships in Zambia to push themselves in their thinking and to move out of their comfort zone. We want this to be a lifelong journey, one that will enrich and inform people’s lives, one that will make those who have had this fantastic opportunity be more open and questioning and, ultimately, affect how they treat others and how they choose to lead their lives.

Cranleigh School will be celebrating this ‘250’ milestone on Saturday December 16th at a Zambia Celebration Charity Night. If you’d like to hear more about this, please get in touch

Becs Gibson
Beyond Oursleves School Partnership co-ordinator and Cranleigh School teacher.