In March of this year, Bright Hope’s Zambia partner, Samfya Bible School (SBS), had to shut its doors and send all 30 of its new students home as part of the national COVID-19 response. Classes on campus will not resume until January 2021.
With no classes to teach and restrictions being placed on meetings, SBS initially found itself with little to do.
Complicating the matter, many of the donors who generously supported the school have had to cut back on giving. Unfortunately, due to these funding cuts, the school had to let go of some support staff.
But not all news is bad news.
SBS has used the time freed up by COVID-19 to develop the school’s agricultural program and to build up some of the school’s income generating enterprises. Much of the drive for developing SBS’s income-generation programs has come from Wathabu, the school’s principal.
In March, in partnership with Bright Hope, the school opened a shop on campus. The shop sells Christian literature, stationaries, and farm produce grown from SBS and Bright Hope’s partner communities. Profits from the shop support the school and provide a revenue stream for Bright Hope’s community agricultural programs.
Chickens! Pigs! And Goats!
The chicken broiler program is once again up and running, with dressed birds selling in the new shop on campus. Vegetable production on campus has increased dramatically, thanks to help from an agriculturalist named Musonda, who has come on board to help with some of the school’s agricultural programs.
In addition to the on-campus work, the school owns a 20-hectare (about 49 acres) farm outside of Samfya. Since the shutdown of the school, they have been able to build a pig unit (a place to breed and house pigs before giving them to CFA farmers), which will supply the Bright Hope/Samfya Bible School Christian Farmer’s Association.
The pig unit will produce approximately 100 piglets destined for our out-grower program in Mwewa, Kalasa, and Mbabala—three communities where we work. The farm also has a herd of goats, some of which have already been moving through the butchery. The butchery is part of the on-campus shop and agricultural outlet.
COVID-19 has hit the school hard, but in the end, thanks to the school’s determination and good leadership, we believe that Samfya Bible School will be in a much better place by 2021, both stronger and more self-reliant.
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