Mercy meets the Scouts

After our successful trip in the Summer, fundraising for Kazemba continued. Our school of Psychology and Neuroscience raised almost £500 through their Psychle4Zambia event which will go towards sponsoring a child from Kazemba Primary to attend High School.

Staff members from the University returned to Kazemba in December, 2016. The purpose of the visit was to introduce the new team of Staff Leaders (Gary, Caroline and Penny) to colleagues in Sport in Action and Kazemba Primary, and establish the fundraising priorities for them to be working on between now and their next visit in July. We had the privilege of travelling back to Scotland with Mercy Sakala, the Deputy Headteacher of Kazemba Primary.

The 8th Fife Explorer Scouts wanted to support the Volunteer Zambia project and did a phenomenal job in raising over £1400 to pay for Mercy’s flights to Scotland and support the 2017 fundraising priorities. Not only that, they also hosted a special Scottish night for Mercy to experience haggis, ceilidhing and hospitality Scout-style. Mercy used her visit to learn about teaching practice in Scottish schools, and was kindly hosted by Lawhead Primary, Bell Baxter High and St Leonards.

STV news also dropped in to catch up with Mercy. She felt like a celebrity and had some great memories to take back to Kazemba to share with the children there.

The first half

We’re past the half-way point of our time in Zambia, and the Project has gone really well so far. Thanks to the generosity of staff, students, and the wider community we raised £5000 towards the priorities that the teachers of Kazemba primary had set for us, and this meant that we could:

  • Buy science equipment to allow practical science to be taught
  • Supply six new laptops to help the pupils learn the computer studies curriculum
  • Provide new batteries to give the school electricity
  • Sponsor seven children who pass their grade 9 exams to allow them to go to high school

And, of course, support the teachers in delivering lessons in Music, Science, Maths, English, Computer Studies, Social Studies and Business Studies. The whole team enjoyed working across all nine of the grades, and learned about Zambia culture and the rural lifestyle.

This short video show some of our activities during the first half of the project.

All packed up

10-Common-Travel-Mistakes-You-Can-AvoidThe first Project Zambia group is all packed and ready to go. Four undergraduate students and a staff leader will arrive in Zambia on 20th June for six weeks of partnership working with the staff at Kazemba School. The students will assist teaching staff with literacy lessons, and the staff leader will help staff with school improvements made possible through the fundraising donations from the St Andrews community (the set up of new laptops in every classroom, purchasing of batteries to give the school electricity, purchasing of science equipment, and arranging sponsorship of grade 9 students who wish to continue their education at high school.)

After months of planning and fundraising, everyone is looking forward to arriving in Kazemba to begin work.

Publicising the project with our friends at Lawhead Primary

As we get closer to leaving for Zambia, it’s been great to have some publicity about our work so far. This year we’ve linked to a local primary school, Lawhead, and they’ve been a tremendous support. The primary 5/6 teacher, Miss Johnstone, has shared teaching tips with the team and her class have learned about Zambia, written letters for the pupils in Kazemba, collected books and shoes, and helped significantly with our fundraising efforts. STV news featured a story about our partnership.

Here are the pupils handing over a cheque for the fantastic sum of £559.43. They raised the money through holding an after-school club bake sale, and a sponsored electricity-free day. The local newspaper also featured the story:


Coppers for Zambia

Did you know that copper is Zambia’s biggest export, and much of their economy depends on it? To help with our Zambia fundraising, we are running a ‘Coppers for Zambia’ competition amongst Schools and Units at the University of St Andrews. From now until the middle of May staff are kindly donating their spare coppers (or silver and gold coins too 😉 in the collection tubs around the University.


There will be a mid-competition copper count before the grand totals are revealed on 9 May. Check back here to see how your School or Unit is faring! We’ll turn the coppers into batteries (not literally!) that will give Kazemba School electricity and make a huge difference to the lives of the teachers and pupils.


The past few months has seen the whole Project Zambia team busy fundraising. The four students are raising money for their flights and expenses to get to Zambia in the summer and Sam and I, as project leaders, are raising funds for the school’s five key priorities:

  1. Fix the broken roof
  2. Buy new batteries so the school has power
  3. Laptops so IT can be taught
  4. Science equipment so practical science can be taught
  5. Sponsorship for children to go onto High School

The student team have been running a number of events – night-time bake sales, Valentine’s rose delivery and student dinners to name a few. The staff team had the pleasure of MC’ing a fundraising Staff Quiz in March. Almost 100 colleagues came along and we raised the fantastic sum of £443.

staff quiz

Brain cells whirring at the Staff Quiz

We’ve also made great links with a local Primary School (Lawhead, St Andrews) and High School (Bell Baxter, Cupar) who are going to be part of the project. We aim to establish links between pupils in Scotland and their counterparts in Zambia.

Thoughts from a Project Zambia participant


Firstly, I would like to mention, what a privilege it is to be a part of such an incredible project.

Mother Teresa once said something that has always stayed close to me. She said “Spread love everywhere you go, Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier”. Now, I am no Mother Teresa, I am just a second year Economics and management student, who got lucky enough to be a part of something that will help me discover horizons in a way that hasn’t been explored by me before. I, strongly believe that at the end of the day it is all about spreading love and happiness. This is exactly what I get to do with this project, which will also provide me exposure to a diverse culture.

“Blessed” , because i can find no better word to describe the feeling I have at the moment. Why I say blessed is, because this project gets two of my greatest passions together, Travelling and people. I have always loved knowing more about people, their culture and their languages. 

Even though this project will be pulling me out of my comfort zone, I  am sure of the fact that it will help me grow in a way like no other, create memories that i will cherish for the rest of my life. I am looking forward for our trip to Zambia, and all the magical moments that awaits.

 Ojas Sharma, Project Zambia 2016 Student

A Christmas letter from the Headteacher of Kazemba School

Following our visit to Kazemaba School in November, the Headteacher of the School, Mr Phiri, has written to express his thanks to the members of the University of St Andrews. You can help raise even more funds to help the school and community via our fundraising campaign:

Headteacher's letter

11th December 2015

Dear friends in Scotland,
Warm and cordial greetings to you all from your dear friends here at Kazemba. It is our sincere hope and assumption that you are all in good health. Here we are sound and healthy.

Dear friends on behalf of the Kazemba community and indeed my own behalf, I would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude for the money you left to help us repair the collapsing roof on one of our classrooms. We are greatly humbled so much that were are unable to adequately thank you… All we can say is may our Good Lord Bless You Abundantly. May our warm relationship continue flourishing.

We are conveying to you all a Merry Christmas and Prosperous 2016. We are looking forward to meeting you all again. Greet all the members of the University of St Andrews.

Your Dear friend,
Aaron Phiri