People in Need opened a school for refugee children from Meheba, ZambiaPublished: Dec 14, 2021 Reading time: 2 minutes
In 2021, thanks to the „Build a School in Africa“ project, People in Need reopened an abandoned school in Meheba, Zambia, home to the oldest refugee camp in the country. As part of the reconstruction, the building was completely renovated and the classrooms were fully equipped with desks, chairs and blackboards. Thanks to the project, pupils and teachers have newly access to toilets and running water. At the same time, support of Czech students enabled us to provide the necessary educational materials and aids for a total of 367 children who will attend the school.
The Meheba refugee camp in North West province is currently home to more than 30,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Angola. Access to quality primary, secondary and vocational education is one of the main challenges for children and youth refugees in Zambia. Indeed, the infrastructure in the area was built in the 1970s when the settlement was established to receive Angolan refugees fleeing civil unrest in their homeland. However, since than, it has been virtually unmaintained and is in a desperate condition. In addition, most of the buildings have asbestos roofs, which pose a significant health threat to pupils and teachers.
Improving the quality of provided education is not the only area of assistance to refugees in desperate situations that People in Need has focused on. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, a project focused on material assistance was implemented in 2019, especially targeted at mothers with children, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities or families in significant financial distress. In addition, our „Cash for Work“ project supported those who helped with construction work in the camp, including building sanitation facilities or temporary housing for newly arrived refugees.