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Partners in Mission: St. Joseph’s RSHM School, Chivuna, Zambia

by RSHM Eastern American AreaCategory: Updates

This past academic year we at Marymount, London were delighted to be able to continue to collaborate with our partner, St. Joseph’s RSHM School, Chivuna, Zambia.

Smiling school girls in blue and navy uniforms outside in front of trees

Through Zoom, Marymount staff and student volunteers taught Maths, English, Physics and Chemistry to our fellow students in Zambia. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet the girls and share some of our resources with them. Sr. Deborah Jamali, RSHM, who lives in the Chivuna community, shared their curriculum and ensured our connection with them every Wednesday and Thursday at 2 pm. Sometimes, the wi-fi was a little unpredictable, but we were proud to see our students adapt and adjust their teaching to the situation. The sessions always ended with laughter and a sense of achievement shared by all those involved.

A laptop with a Zoom call class visible
Physics lessons with Mr. Barroca, Sahana Iyer, Amelie Grossman and Emily Pondaven

We also participated in an online Book Club facilitated by our Librarian, Ms. Openshaw, and the School Goals Implementation Committee (SGIC) exchanged ideas with the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) group in Zambia. The student leaders in Zambia spoke of their current works of service and shared videos and photos of a neighborhood school, St. Michael’s Primary, which they are helping. To assist them with their fundraising for this primary school, the SGIC held an ice cream sale this week and raised £111.

This international partnership has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other and live out our school goals of care and compassion. The SGIC leadership group along with other enthusiastic student leaders from the National Honor Society participated in the first Zoom call with fellow students from St. Joseph’s. They spoke to each other passionately about their different countries and their shared experiences of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screenshots of students talking via Zoom
Chemistry lesson with Vivien Zartner and Sakshi Athreya

“The Zambian students explained to our students that they have been working to raise money for their community, particularly a nearby orphanage. They are also raising awareness of women’s rights, the trafficking of women and children and identifying issues related to poverty in their communities, and care for the environment. They asked poignant questions about the life of women in the UK and explained some of the challenges that girls and women face in their community and culture. This struck a chord with many of our Marymount students who were deeply moved by the efforts of the Zambian students to achieve social justice. As an immediate response, they created a fundraiser selling pizzas and cookies and raised £130. One student’s parents are now working with Marymount on sponsoring two students from St. Joseph’s to attend university in Zambia. They have also donated new clothes for a sale to raise money for the wider community in Chivuna, especially the orphanage. We look forward to growing this friendship and partnership with the students at St Joseph’s. There is an excitement about what the future holds for both schools and their students” (SGIC annual report).

It was clear from the conversations that despite living far from each other, the students shared the same values, mission and care to improve the lives of others. Both groups espouse the RSHM Mission “that all may have life,” uniting them in a common cause to make a better world.

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