Community Fund Grantee Returns to Zambia to Build a School Library
The children in Camillia Freeland-Taylor’s (Zambia 2013-15) village walked nine miles and crossed two rivers to attend school. Many families wouldn't allow their girls to attend because it was too dangerous. Clearly this community needed a primary school...so Camillia built one. As a PCV, Camillia researched what it would take legally and logistically to build the school and secured funding to lay the school’s foundation. Thanks to a grant from NPCA's nascent Community Fund, Camillia was able to return after service to complete the building and add latrines as well as teacher housing as required by Zambian law.
Here's what Camillia has to say about this project's impact:
In the short term, the children of Magalela village will be the biggest beneficiaries. This local school will remove a significant hurdle currently preventing girls from obtaining a primary school education. Over the coming years, the primary school in Magalela will benefit the entire community and the entirety of Zambia. Studies have shown that with each additional year of education, an individual will earn more money as an adult, helping to alleviate the extreme poverty in the area. Women who have received a primary school education are less likely to lose children in the first five years of the child’s life, meaning that this primary school will eventually be responsible for saving lives. Education has a compounding effect, and the result of allowing an entire community of children access to a primary education truly cannot be understated.
Kudos to Community Fund Contributors
When asked what impact the Community Fund grant had on her personally, Camillia's response was heartfealt:
This was my first time headed back to Zambia, completely independent of the Peace Corps. I was scared that I was trying to do something too big. It wasn't until National Peace Corps Association had informed me that they were going to help the school financially did I truly feel supported. I knew at that point that I was doing a project that was going to succeed. I had been given a gift that if used wisely would benefit the community of Magalela for years to come.
The Community Fund grant not only gave me the financial means to help expand the school, but gave me the confidence that I was doing something larger and that the Peace Corps community as a whole truly had the desire and drive to see those things done. I felt like there were people out there that weren't in it for the tax break or propaganda, people who gave because they cared and wanted nothing other than to be a good steward to others. It gave me the hope that there are people out there that want to make this world a better place.
More Good Work to Do
Camillia has just returned to the community of Magalela to ensure that they have the basic resources necessary for a quality education, such as desks, books, and a library. And this time, she's bringing two young helpers: Hugo and Della Carney, (10th and 7th grade, respectively) who were inspired by Camillia's stories about her Peace Corps experience and her plans to return to her community to expand the school. Hugo and Della have gotten involved with fundraising and learned about sustainable development in the process; now, they are headed to the village for a week to volunteer in the library construction and learn about Zambian culture.
Fundraising is ongoing for this phase of the project. To find out more or to give, visit https://www.gofundme.com/buildalibraryinzambia.
Best for Last
This video shows the fantastic work that has already been done in the community of Magalela, outlines the plans for the library, and like any good video, ends with adorable dancing children. Enjoy!