Thursday, 19 July 2018

St. Paul’s Trip to Zambia, Summer 2018

Article by James Hawes, a pupil at St Paul's School

The summer 2018 trip to Zambia was one of education, inspiration and cultural immersion. Three teachers accompanied 15 Paulines to the northern Copperbelt region of Zambia where we experienced the education work of the charity Beyond Ourselves, for which we had been raising money during the school year. During our trip, we also learned firsthand about other development initiatives in the country. We visited seven schools during the 10-day period, doing volunteer work at most of them, which ranged from the administration of PE activities with limited resources at Nsobe School at the beginning of the trip, to assessing literacy and phonics at Mwabombeni Primary School later in the week. The trip involved visiting the Beyond Ourselves-funded schools as well as others, and the disparity in funding between the supported and unsupported schools was shocking. Seeing Grace Community School in particular, a newly established school where lessons were taught in a roofless building, was especially touching and helped us to realise the importance of the charitable work of Beyond Ourselves.

The religious presence in Zambia is strong, and the overwhelming majority of the schools were set up by a local church. On the first full day, we attended a Sunday Service at a village community church, which was an open air service in the bush, and gave us a sense of the importance of the Church in Zambian culture. The first few days gave us the opportunity to learn about specific Zambian customs, such as Zambia’s unique three-part handshake and some basic Bemba words. Mr Block was the only member of the group who had previously travelled to Zambia, so the rest of us needed some education in the particular cultural nuances. The group spent the first two nights at Nsobe Game Camp, which is part of the Nsobe Company - an organisation with a fascinating development model which included giving all employees a stake in the company to keep the local community supported with economic growth. Learning about development as a process was a major ingredient of the trip, and hearing from the manager of Nsobe gave the group an insight into a method of stimulating economic progress. Taking charge of PE at the Nsobe School was a memorable part of the trip, which involved teaching the whole school together how to do a Mexican wave. After the days at Nsobe Camp we were ready for the week ahead.

We then stayed in Ndola, capital of the Copperbelt region, visiting and doing work at several schools in the area. Of these, Janna School was the largest and the one where we spent the most time, being the first school to develop a partnership with the Beyond Ourselves organisation. We sat in on a science lesson, assisted in a lesson of arts and crafts, and taught a course of First Aid and netball during our two days there. We also led games during the lunch break and taught all the children the Macarena, which went down especially well. During one of the afternoons, we visited a Zambia-based Italian ice cream company with a charitable focus, called Gigibonta, which supports technical colleges for locals as well as accommodation for orphans. That same day we learned about the Wiphan company, which provides jobs for widows and education for orphans. The trip as a whole taught us all about the different ways of bringing about development in Zambia, learning of the importance of the access to education that Beyond Ourselves is helping to provide, complemented with the support and opportunities offered by the other companies like Nsobe and Gigibonta.

Our final few days saw us carry out assessments of literacy and phonics at Mwabombeni Primary School, host the sports day at Greater Joy Community School, and do chores at local people’s houses, just to name a few things that we did. We were staying in the city of Kitwe, where we witnessed some of the worst poverty on the trip, and where the problem of alcoholism was most evident. On the way to Kitwe we stopped at a honey farm, which was another example of a small business set up with charitable development at its core. Despite Kitwe’s extreme poverty, Greater Joy School had a lively atmosphere, and we helped out a visiting company in leading a reading session. We visited two of Kitwe’s markets during our stay, and learnt a song in Bemba with a local group. Following our three nights in Kitwe, it was time to head back to London.

Following the trip, we now have a much better understanding of how overseas development charities, like Beyond Ourselves, function. We had the opportunity to do some volunteer work ourselves as well as hear directly from the Beyond Ourselves staff and the schools that benefit from their support. We have been inspired to help further the reach of the development provided by Beyond Ourselves, as well as the other development initiatives that we met with. This was a fantastic trip and we are grateful for Mr Block, Mr Taylor and Mr Young for making it happen.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


Greetings Beyond Ourselves followers! We've had a little gap in our blog writing due to a very hefty work schedule for all, but we're back! And what better way to start than by updating you on the wonderful fundraising that has been going on!

Those who know me will be aware that I do like to have fun, so for me some fundraising has to involve that word!

In mid June we held our 9th Beyond Ourselves Golf Day! We had a change of venue as we moved to Crews Hill Golf Club where Lee and Dan Fickling have moved to (the pros!)

The weather was fantastic and has been ever since! There were 23 teams out on the course, with their usual stop at the Pimms marquee which Jodie and I sacrificially manned - with the assistance of our able helpers, Mel Jones and Jan Atkins. 

Congratulations to the winning team - Andrew O'Donnell, Jordan Clarke, Ed Benson and Ben Collins.

The golf day was followed by an evening party including our raffle and auction with the infamous Ben Collins. Thanks to the generosity of those present, the day raised £11,500 which is brilliant and will greatly help with our costs in Zambia.

A big thanks to all those who played, contributed raffle or auction prizes, bid for said auction prizes and made it a fun day!

Special thanks to Ben for auctioneering, Lauren Knight of Hype Branding for supplying us with items for our goodie bags, and Lee and Dan Fickling for all their help on the day.

Stephen James BMW has chosen Beyond Ourselves as their 'Charity of the Year' this year. So far this year they have raised over £3,500 through various means - the Central Functions Department have raised over £600 by making and eating lots of cake! Every Friday without fail somebody makes cakes. Such a great way to raise funds.

Jim O'Donnell, who was Head of Business at one of the Centres at Stephen James, has just very successfully completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrim walk across northern Spain. He completed 500 miles in one month. An amazing feat and raised £2,600 for Beyond Ourselves. Thank you Jim!

Two of the UK schools that we partner with have also been busy fundraising. St Margarets primary school in Barking raised over £900 for their Lent appeal. Jodie visited their assembly and shared some stories of the schools in Zambia which the children got very excited about.

Pupils from St Pauls School organised a sponsored walk in March and raised over £32,000! Amazing! Thank you to both schools for their wonderful support.

If you are able to undertake some fundraising for Beyond Ourselves, however big or small, we'd be so grateful! All this is to contribute to transforming the lives of the children we partner with in Zambia.

THANK YOU for your partnership with us. Have a great summer!


Monday, 9 April 2018

Introducing Ireen Kunda Mwanza, the New Headteacher for Janna Community school

Ireen Kunda Mwanza is the new headteacher for Janna. Ireen born from a family of seven (7) is married with two children both schooling at Janna community school.

Smiling Ireen
Ireen and her two children

Ireen who has been working for Janna for 12 years got her inspiration of becoming a teacher way back when she was appointed as sunday school teacher at church. It was then that she had a conviction of making a difference in the lives of children and just become a mentor through teaching. 

She is very excited about her elevation as head teacher and appreciates the confidence that people have shown in her. She adds that, ‘sometimes it feels like no one notices your hard work.’ She believes that all leadership comes from God and is excited to see how she will work with other staff members in her new position. She was quick to add that the new role entails a lot of learning which she was willing to do as she is always looking at making herself better with excellence in all she does.

Asked about how she feels about the high score that the school recorded in last year’s grade seven exams, she attributes the success to every teacher’s effort. She hopes that people will begin to appreciate the positive difference that the community schools are making in the educational sector in Zambia.

Asked where she sees herself in the next 5 years, she responds with a smile and says ‘definitely a better teacher and head than I am now, as am always looking at ways of becoming better each day that comes.’

In her spare time away from school, she loves to spend time with her family and teach her children how to bake.
Ireen's Daughter

Ireen's Son
Her favourite food is Nshima and Chicken.

She dislikes people who are always complaining because complaining has never changed a thing on its on without action.

By Linda Kaluba

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Delicious Donut Fundraiser!

Every year Beyond Ourselves awards secondary school bursaries to our former primary school graduates so the most academically gifted and the most financially unable students are able to continue with their education. We currently award 120 bursaries each year.

This year we took a look back on how some of the bursary students have grown since their time in our schools. It’s lovely to see the way these former pupils are maturing and it’s exciting to see them continue to pursue their academic dreams. Just this year one of the students we support had such high exam results that he was chosen to go to a more prestigious government school!

The bursaries given cost £75/$130CDN. They cover school fees to attend local government schools as well as help with costs of books and school uniform. These bursaries don’t come under our child sponsorship programme so we always fundraise for them separately.

Over the last couple of weeks a small group from Canada have been making donuts and selling them to raise money specifically for these bursaries. They made over 70 dozen donuts (840+ donuts!) and raised just over $4300CDN! Wow!! This $4300 provides the means for 33 students to attend secondary school! Amazing!

If you didn’t get a chance to eat any delicious donuts and make a donation but would still like to help support a secondary school student continue their education, you can make a donation by clicking here.

Thank you to those in Canada for making and eating so many donuts and for giving so generously!!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

A Big Thank You & The Beyond Ourselves Golf Day

Thank You

Well thank you so much to all those who supported our Christmas text book appeal. Many of you bought much needed text books which will be so helpful to the children at the schools we partner with. We hope that the cards we sent you instead of a physical gift were well received.

As much as dogs aren’t ‘just for Christmas’, alternative gifts are also definitely not just for Christmas. We have honed our Alternative Gifts page down as we have recently evaluated how best to partner with the community when it comes to Alternative Gifts and endeavoured to find a better way to resource and empower those in need.

To this end, we will be working in even closer partnerships with the schools to identify the most vulnerable individuals and families who are in a crisis situation, and resource them accordingly. Any donations that we have received for Alternative Gifts that have as yet not been distributed will be placed in this crisis fund for the community. If you have any questions about your previous Alternative Gift purchases then please do contact us.

Please do Click here to visit that section of our website for any alternative gifts you may like to buy. It’s great to send gift cards to those ‘who you can’t think what to buy for’.

Beyond Ourselves Golf Day

The days are getting lighter and that means that the fair weather golfers will start brushing down their clubs. We have the perfect occasion – the annual Beyond Ourselves Golf Day. We have changed the venue to Crews Hill Golf Club. Please save the date and either come as a team or an individual. Full details will be out shortly. 

Please contact for more details.

If you’re not a golfer, please come to the post golf party/BBQ. Always good fun and a great fundraiser.

BBQ, Kazza’s cocktails (!), great raffle prizes and an auction.

Tickets will be out shortly. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Introducing Sheba

At the start of this year we welcomed a new member of staff to the Beyond Ourselves team in Zambia. Sheba Kafwimbi Moyo is a Zambian Headteacher who has been working in Community Schools since she graduated in 2005.

Sheba is taking over as Education Empowerment Co-ordinator from Emily Pearse, who leaves Beyond Ourselves at the end of February after three and a half years in the role.

We asked a few questions of Sheba for this blog in order that we can all get to know her a little better.

Sheba, tell us a bit about how you came to become a teacher.

"I come from a family of teachers. My mother is a teacher of English and Religious studies and my late father was a lecturer at a Bible college for most of my childhood. In a way, they both inspired me to become a teacher.

When I completed Secondary School I received a scholarship to study as a Early Childhood Teacher Trainer at a college in my hometown, and I've never looked back since. Teaching, training and supporting teachers is my passion, and something that I see myself doing for the most of my career."

Tell us a bit about your family/home life.

"My husband, Donald, is a Pastor and also works as an accountant. Together we have three beautiful girls, Rhema, Lusako and Tikondwe who are 6, 4 and 2 respectively. We also live with 3 other girls, an adult and two teenagers whom we look after as part of our extended family.

Our home life revolves around parenting, serving as assistant pastors in our church and work. So as you can imagine, life can get quite busy!"

The Moyo Ladies

Sheba and Donald

Why have you joined Beyond Ourselves?

"I joined Beyond Ourselves because I have a passion for education, more especially literacy in disadvantaged communities. When I came to know of Beyond Ourselves, I discovered that the organisation had a similar passion. I feel that through Beyond Ourselves I have the opportunity to have a greater impact in improving literacy levels in Zambia.

This past week we've conducted literacy training with teachers and representatives from the Ministry of General Education as part of the Jolly Phonics Pilot we've been commissioned to organise. It's been quite an experience meeting the teachers and headteachers and seeing their enthusiasm and willingness to learn how they can be more effective in teaching reading and writing. These are the types of experiences that energise me and that I can look forward to being a part of through Beyond Ourselves."

What do you do for fun?

"I enjoy family outings, going for picnics and family road trips. My hobbies include reading, listening to music, cooking and baking. I am also a singer/songwriter."

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

Friday, 12 January 2018

Happy 2018!

It seems impossible to start a new year without thinking ahead to what that year will all entail. As I look at our 2018 wall calendar in our office here in Zambia, I see the school terms mapped out and the dates of teams and visitors and am aware of the work and planning that needs to be done, I have a sense of expectation of the various training events that will take place, I already feel the sadness of a colleague and friend who will be moving back to the UK, I anticipate the excitement of another colleague having a baby and so much more…

The first exciting event of the year has already happened for us as a team. We have had a new member of staff join our Zambia team as of the beginning of the month, Sheba Moyo. Sheba will be involved in improving standards at the schools we partner with but will also be facilitating the Jolly Phonics pilot this year. We are excited about what she will bring to our team and to the schools we work with.

As we embark on the Jolly Phonics pilot this year, we feel we are sailing into new territory for us as a team. We are well versed in mentorship and in the teaching of literacy but expanding this to 22 schools is a big project for us. But, we are convinced Jolly Phonics is a fantastic resource and with the right training and mentorship, this resource could impact thousands of children in Zambia. It’s worth venturing into unchartered territory when we consider the potential positive impact of this.

The ongoing mentorship and support we give to the three community schools we partner with, couldn’t be closer to our hearts. Every year the head teachers we work with grow in their roles and we have a sense of anticipation as we look ahead to this coming year as we think about their leadership. They continue to raise the standards in their schools and be leaders in their communities.

We plan on investing time and energy into making some culturally relevant reading resources this year. This is something we’ve chipped away at for a couple of years now but feel like this is the year we will put our heads down to get this done. Together with the Jolly Phonics resources, these reading books could really impact literacy. It is energising to think about this potential.

We have four secondary school teams visiting Zambia this year, two from schools who have never sent a team here before. Between the four teams there will be about 65 young people that will visit us. We look forward to seeing these pupils engage in new experiences and have their eyes opened to new ways of doing things but also have their worldview's challenged.

All that said, this year hasn’t started as we had hoped and planned! There has been an outbreak of cholera in Zambia. The outbreak has mainly been in Lusaka but there have been confirmed cases throughout Zambia, including the cities in which we live and work. The latest numbers are that there have been at least 2700 people infected with cholera. Because of this, all schools (nursery to tertiary) have been ordered by the government to be closed for the month of January and there are also restrictions on public gatherings of people for events such as weddings, funerals and church. With these measures in place, as well as several others, it is everyone’s hope that the outbreak will be contained quickly.

All of the schools we work with are closed for all of January and we had seven days of Jolly Phonics training planned for this month which have needed to be postponed. As a team we are continuing to work with the head teachers this month and are focusing on writing up some school policies as well as doing additional planning for the term ahead. We are also taking a bit of time to homeschool our own children who are also not in school this month!

If you are one to pray, please pray this outbreak is contained quickly so people stay well and so schools can resume in February. Thank you!

Here’s to an exciting and adventurous 2018!

By Melissa Whitcombe