At Grade 9 Family Future Community School (FFCS) children sit compulsory Government Exams. For some years now we have had funds to send the ten children who have attained the highest marks to Grades 10 -12 in Government Upper Secondary Schools, FFCS being able to cater only for Primary and Junior Secondary. These schools are local to Mwalala, the area of Kabwe in which we work. The schools ‘bid’ for the children they wish to enrol and we are pleased to report that they vie for our children because they know that Family Futures Community School children are well educated and well behaved. At present we have 30 children spread over five schools.
We try to plan our annual visit so that I can attend the Open Days when termly reports are distributed. This enables trustees to converse with their teachers, for the teachers to understand that an ‘on the ground’ charity is personally following the student’s progress, and for the students to know that their continued sponsorship revolves around them continuing to be serious about achieving good results. It costs £150 a year to sponsor a student in Upper Secondary School to Grade 12. It is becoming very difficult to get any sort of reasonable job in Zambia without a Grade 12 Certificate. (The rest of the Grade 9 children are not abandoned, but encouraged to join one of our Skills Courses.)
Each year we meet the students and their guardians to get to know them more, encourage them, to discuss their challenges and any other problems which may arise. They each write a letter about themselves and are photographed. They are all so appreciative and consider us their family – as indeed, we do them.
After Grade 12 many go on to Family Pillar Vocational Skills Centre and from thence to employment. Some decide to do some unskilled work to earn enough money to put themselves through professional training – usually teaching.