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.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Meet Our New Intern Lydia!


I'm Lydia Pytches. I'm 22 and I'll be working with Beyond Ourselves as intern for the next year!

I've been told that maybe a good way to introduce myself is to tell you some things about me.

I was born in the UK but moved to Australia at 11 months old and I've stayed there ever since. I graduated* from high school in 2013 and since then have been doing odd jobs, tried my hand at acting school and have been through a lot of highs and lows in my life. Towards the end of last year leading into this year I went through quite a tumultuous period which affected me for a long time. When it came to figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, I remembered that my wonderful (honorary) godmother Jodie has trips going to Zambia every year, and on a whim, I asked if there were still spots for this coming trip in October. Amazingly she replied saying there was, and that there was a year-long internship on offer! This opportunity was too good to miss, so I packed my bags as best as I could and set sail to London!

The trip to Zambia will be at the beginning of October, in just under a month. Something that I'm excited to be doing whilst over there is to meet and talk to the children and their families at Beyond Ourselves’ partner schools, as well as helping this incredible charity continue to grow and expand. I think it will also give me a better understanding of how local Zambians live in everyday and it'll make me appreciate my life in a whole new way. I definitely don’t want to take anything for granted afterwards.

I cannot wait to see what this year holds, and hopefully you now know more about me!

If you would like to follow my journey or find out more about Beyond Ourselves, give the FB page, Instagram and Twitter a like or follow. You're also welcome to donate and/or sponsor a child, go to

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Emily and Malcolm's Return To Zambia

On Sunday my family and I flew back to Zambia after spending August in the UK. My wife, Emily works for Beyond Ourselves here in Zambia and I am the Deputy Head teacher at Simba International School.

We love our family and friends in the UK and catching up with everyone, but Oh how we love to come back home. Zambia can be the most frustrating of places to live at times but it often feels like best place on earth.

After getting stuck in traffic on the M25 we missed our flight and ended up arriving back in Zambia late on Sunday afternoon and going straight into the new school year on Monday morning. So starting back has been fairly hectic, but between the manic timetabling and staff training sessions there have been moments to stop and breath in the calm and marvel and the sheer gratitude I feel for living in this place.

One particular highlight of our return was walking round our garden and noticing two tiny pineapples beginning to grow two and a half years after being planted. Wonderful!

There’s space to walk and pause and ponder here on the edge of Ndola where we live. Life is still filled with business which can overwhelm but it’s a fine place to stop and stare and replenish the soul. This is one of my favourite poems and it will always remind me of walking in my garden here.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Blog by Malcolm

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

We Welcome Linda to the Beyond Ourselves Team!

Hi, My name is Linda Kaluba Zimba and I am pleased to be the newest member of the Beyond Ourselves Zambia team. I was born and grew up in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and come from a family of four siblings in family of 4. My father died when I was 9 and my mum passed away a year later. I understood then that education was very important to enable me to look to the future. The four of us moved in with our Auntie and she made us all continue with schooling. Today I thank God for my auntie because without her maybe my story would have been different today.

In 2009, I married Archie Zimba and moved to Ndola where I started studying for my Law degree (long distance education) whilst working for an Organisation called Seeds of Hope International Partnerships (SHIP). I worked with them for 8 years and rose to the position of Administration Manager, before I left to join Beyond Ourselves in February of this year.

At Beyond Ourselves, am proud to say am the first Zambian employee and I do Administration and also community work. I have always had a passion for helping people in my own little way because personally I have also benefited from people that have assisted me through my life. My role at Beyond Ourselves connects me to many others I really enjoy having an opportunity to work within the schools. My goal in life is to leave this world a better place than I found it. With my experiences as a child and losing my parents I would love to inspire even one child in a similar situation and help them.

When not working, I like to spend some time with my family at home and visiting relatives. I take advantage of my free time to be with my 3 children playing and creating memories with them. 

I also love travelling and one day I would like to see other places in the world and especially visit UK, USA and Japan. I would enjoy seeing and appreciate other people’s cultures and learn from them. So far I have only visited South Africa and certainly enjoyed my time there.

My other interests are listening to Gospel music, watching movies and reading.

I don’t really have a favourite food but I do enjoy eating Nshima (Zambia’s staple food) with Ifinkubala (Caterpillars), something I am sure many of the people reading this would not try. When we all go out as a family on an occasional dinner out we really enjoy pizza.

One of my pet hates is when some one is filled with self-pity and to such I always encourage them to look to their dreams because no matter how tough life is, the sun will eventually shine in one way or another.

For me God has been the centre of my life and he has surely seen me through it all and for that I will forever be thankful for the kindness and mercies he has shown me. Hard-work and focus have also kept me going and wanting to learn more and more has helped me in life.

Linda Kaluba Zimba

Friday, 4 August 2017

Kawama Village

In the two years that Mike and I have been involved with Kawama School we have spent time, not only talking to Mary, the Headteacher but also many members of the wonderful community, about the development of the village and how it is to live there. Undoubtedly, the school and the community are linked, and often as one develops, so does the other.

New Kawama looking towards the "Old" area. Kawama School is the silver "cross" just right of centre 
So first a little of the history. Up until 1995, the area was simply ‘bush’ but as the nearby city of Kitwe started to grow, people began to look for more affordable housing around Kawama. Some people bought land to build their family home, while others saw a business opportunity to build houses to rent. There are still two distinct parts to Kawama, the old and the new. The “old” area is slightly more prosperous, with more 3-roomed houses, some with electricity and water and a tarmac road. Kawama School is situated in the new part, where most houses still have only one or two rooms, few people have electricity and water is still collected daily from a bore hole or well in the village. As you drive through the village, women and children are seen sweeping the area around their houses, keeping them as clean as they can. However, rubbish is often swept into the streets., rather than being burned. This can make the area appear more neglected to us than it is in reality.

An older home falling down but still lived in

A much newer and more modern home

Washing is often just hung over the shrubs by the street
There has been very little investment in the infrastructure in the area, which means that roads are extremely badly maintained and the drainage system is virtually non-existent. This is a huge problem in the rainy season as it often becomes impossible to walk around. We have heard recently that the council have plans to improve the roads and drainage system, which would make a huge difference to the area. 

Although houses are kept clean the rubbish is just thrown into the street

Cars use the roads in the wet season with difficulty

This is the "main" road into New Kawama with the Government School in the background
There are very few jobs around Kawama, apart from the local market where people have small stalls selling a range of goods from fruit and vegetables to second hand clothes. Some of the community have started up small shops perhaps doing tailoring or barbers and hairdressers. One or two of the younger people have also started computer or internet places that may offer photocopying or printing but of course these depend on the erratic electricity supply. There is an area on the road into Kawama that has timber yards and a newly built Zambeef factory. It can be very hard to find regular work in the area. Although some people commute to Kitwe, these tend to be the professional people, like teachers who have decided to rent in Kawama to save money.

Timber yards on the road into Kawama

The new Zambeef factory giving some employment

Most of the "shops" are this style

Shops and stalls sell many things

Vegetable sellers, mostly home grown

There are many bars and this is the local beer delivery
The area is developing quite quickly, with more people building slightly larger houses. However, as a consequence, the more vulnerable families were finding it harder to find a place to rent. Some families were moving out to a nearby village called Kamatipa, which is less developed and so more affordable. Mary has recently been asked to support the community school at Kamatipa, sharing her years of knowledge with less experienced colleagues. At the moment there are still many vulnerable children at the school, but with the developments that are happening, the time may come when more families have to move away. Both the schools and Beyond Ourselves monitor carefully the number of vulnerable children in our schools since these are the families we are committed to support.

Most children now attend school, but parents still do not always value education. Too many young children are kept at home to work, or sent to market to sell vegetables rather than going to school. Older boys often drop out of school as they start to roam streets, enjoying being with their friends rather than in school. Kawama school and church are doing a fantastic job within the community in trying to support these young people by running a youth group as well as a Boys Brigade group. There is no doubt that life is hard in Kawama village, but with the help of our school, there is hope for the future. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Meet Greater Joy's Administrator Memory

This week our profile interview is with Memory, an amazing young woman who has recently started work as the administrator at Greater Joy.

Memory has moved around Zambia more than many people since her father worked for ZRA, the Zambian Tax office, and was frequently posted to different towns. However, this didn’t hamper her education in any way. After graduating from school, she studied at the Copperbelt University for 5 years to study business administration. After graduating, she worked at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, which she says she really enjoyed. Unfortunately her father died in 2001 and Memory now lives with her family in Chimwemwe with her mother, grandmother, her brother King and her sister Hope.

Memory is very involved in the church at Greater Joy and each week she practises with the Praise team, whose role it is to lead in the singing. Although only 26, Memory is very active in helping young people, more especially women. She is part of a group called Alchemy, Women in Leadership (A.WiL)which aims to empower young women and her aim is to see Women compete equally (or in her words) to be more successful than men in gaining high positions in business, industry and in the running of the Nation. Memory is such a positive person with great leadership potential that I’m sure she will have an impact on the women she works with. Memory asked me to highlight the group so you can all see what it is about. Please take a look at

Memory was very involved in the Girls Leadership Summit
Memory explained that her group works to help young girls stay in Education and excel at school so that they will have better opportunities in the future. She is particularly interested in helping people who are not academic to learn a trade.

Every community needs someone like Memory, who just gets on with making changes rather than just talking about doing something.

Memory enjoys her job at the school as it is very varied. Not only does she check that the school fees are paid, but she keeps records of all children, manages the day to day finances and oversees the feeding programme. She has recently been given a computer so is currently busy transferring all the records to a data base. She said that she is enjoying setting up new systems for keeping track of all the resources that the school has and making sure that they are returned when the teachers have finished with them. 

Memory works closely with Maureen, Head of Greater Joy

Sorting out admin details with teachers

Helping with a recent visit by Roding Valley High School

When she isn’t working at the school, she enjoys listening to music and dancing. She would like to be a model, but has been told that she isn’t tall enough. Memory is always busy and in addition to working at the school sells Avon products to her neighbours. Memory is a great example of how some people find opportunities to help themselves and their families by being imaginative.