On a recent day, several boys walked down a dusty road in the southern Africa country of Zambia. They spoke of dreams of one day being a mechanic, a teacher, or a pilot. Just like boys everywhere, they saw a bright future full of accomplishment and adventure. They could not imagine the giant hurdles that are in the way of the Zambian child who wants to better his or her life through a higher education.
According to United Nations statistics, only 38% of boys and 36% of girls in Zambia attend high school. The literacy rate for young women in Zambia is 58.5%, with young men only slightly ahead at 70.3%. Zambian government spending on education ranks 170th out of 173 countries ranked. These are dire statistics. However, Global Samaritans is an organization based in Union Point, GA – a small town east of Atlanta – that is doing something to reverse the trends.
A school bus plays a big role in their plans.
Global Samaritans was founded by husband and wife physicians Bo and Ruby Cheves in 2001 after they spent two years as missionary doctors and realized the need for an orphanage to care for the Zambian children who were losing their parents to the AIDS epidemic. They founded Global Samaritans Orphanage and immediately began to take in orphaned children. As the children grew older, the need for a high school education was clear. An important part of the mission statement for Global Samaritans is to overcome the dismal Zambian education statistics and “raise the next generation of Zambian leaders”. However, while the children are able to complete grades 1-7 in a school within easy walking distance of the orphanage and grades 8 and 9 at the school built on the orphanage grounds, high school grades 10-12 is only available by moving to a boarding school many hours away.
According to Erin Porter, Executive Director of Global Samaritans, boarding school is an expensive proposition. It also requires a frightening adjustment for the children. Porter says, “Imagine living through the pain of losing your parents and now being forced to leave your home, among people who love and care for you, and go to live in a boarding school many miles away.” She said that the children attending boarding school had to spend every day for 9 months of the year away from home.
Global Samaritans arrived at a solution. Attendance at a day school in the nearby city of Livingstone would allow the children to live at the orphanage and travel to school each day, returning each night. However, reliable transportation was needed. Global Samaritans therefore launched a GoFundMe campaign that has thus far netted over $4000 in donations toward obtaining a bus. The goal is to raise $50,000 in order to be able to purchase a quality dependable bus.
Porter says, “We are looking forward to getting the bus so that the children at our orphanage will not have to go to boarding schools. We will also be able to use the bus for high school sporting events, field trips, and other extracurricular events.”
Those who are interested in donating are encouraged to go to the GoFundMe campaign site at http://www.gofundme.com/globalschoolbus
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