As our name suggests, a passion for education drives everything we do at EDULIFE. At the heart of our mission is a belief that education should be available to everyone, regardless of their social or economic circumstances. Unfortunately, the reality of life in Zambia means that education is often a luxury, not a right. You might notice that many of our students are older than might be expected for their level of education; this is because challenges around accessing schooling often mean that the opportunity to study arrives a little later in life.
Financial concerns are often at the root of a child leaving school. Education in Zambia is not free, and fees increase once pupils reach secondary level. For many families, it is simply not possible to pay these fees or to cover extras like the price of school uniform, books or costs associated with taking exams. Geographical access to schools is also a problem, as students often have to cover large distances to attend lessons. A more limited number of secondary schools means that this issue worsens at secondary level. The challenge only increases for female students, who are not prioritised in the same way as their male counterparts. Pregnancy, early marriage and extreme poverty are all factors in restricting girls and young women, as well as an expectation that they will stay at home and help to cook, clean and care for siblings. This is where EDULIFE steps in. Through our Sponsorship Programme, we cover school fees, as well as helping out with other practical concerns, such as travel and living costs. This ensures a consistent and guaranteed access to education, allowing our children and young people to focus on their studies. We give them the space to dream of a different future and the support to make it a reality.
The best part about the work we do at EDULIFE is watching our students succeed.
James is 20 and loves solving maths problems and playing football. When he was very young, he was abandoned by his father. He lived with his mother and younger sister until June 2017, when his mother was involved in an accident in which her dress caught fire. After a week in hospital, she died from her injuries. James went to stay with friends, but continued to cycle 15km to and from school every day, which just shows how committed he was to his education. His younger sister went to live with an aunt, but unfortunately, the family was unable to support James. The day after he buried his mother, James met with the EDULIFE Committee and we were able to give him the opportunity to continue his studies at Makoye Boarding School. He studied hard and went on to become Head Boy in his final year. In March 2020, he received outstanding results for his Grade 12 exams and now has the opportunity to apply for a place at university, where he hopes to study medicine. James has done all the hard work, but we are so proud to have been able to support him in his studies so far. We can’t wait to see what he does next.
Christopher is 28 and the youngest of three brothers. He is from Luwingu in the NorthernProvince of Zambia. He completed his secondary education in 2013 and, despite facing challenges along the way, he managed to achieve the results that would have earned him aplace at university. However, Christopher’s parents are subsistence farmers and their income was not enough to support him through further education. After four years, EDULIFE stepped in and Christopher was able to return to school in 2017. He is now studying teaching and hopes to graduate in 2020. His dream is to change the standard of living for his family.
How Does It Work?
EDULIFE currently offers academic sponsorships, but we are aspiring to provide vocational sponsorship in the future, so that each young person has access to the training and education that best compliments their talents and ambitions. The cost to support a student varies depending on their level of study, their chosen subject and whether they have a family that can offer any assistance. For example, some students need an allowance to help cover food and accommodation, in addition to course fees. As students get older, there is also an expectation that they will work to support themselves, within reason. We collaborate closely with the Parish Committee in Zambia, who put forward recommendations based on an application process and the annual budget we provide. EDULIFE reviews those applications and students who are accepted sign a sponsorship agreement. This guarantees that we will fund their studies up until completion, providing that they pass their exams.
How can I get involved?
You can offer a partial or full sponsorship, or even become a corporate sponsor. Whatever you feel able to give is welcome, so there is no minimum commitment. Below, you’ll find a link to a gallery of students who are currently looking for sponsorship. Read through their profiles and see whose story and ambitions most resonate with you. Then, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start the process of setting up sponsorship. Whatever you can give will make a huge difference to one of these children or young people and will be really appreciated by all of us at EDULIFE, as well as the student you are helping.
You will receive an annual progress update on your student, which will include their results, as well as further updates where possible. As a sponsor, you can also choose to share a photo and some information about yourself with your student, though this is entirely optional. All communication will take place through EDULIFE, but we feel that it is important that students and sponsors have the opportunity to make a personal connection with one another.
EDULIFE is entirely run by volunteers, which means that we take no salaries from the charity. We also uplift the funds we send to Zambia by 3%, to cover any bank charges. This is funded by our own fundraising efforts, meaning that when you sponsor a student, 100% of the money you commit goes directly to supporting them.