By DERRICK SILIMINA
Schools in Solwezi District recently received learning materials worth more than K550,000 from Kansanshi Mining Plc, bringing its educational support to more than 150,000 books since 2013.
Among the learning resources handed over to the Government by the mining firm include 10,595 African novels for junior readers in schools, another 1000 copies of Tukiya The Runaway Teenage Bride, and 89 early childhood education tables.
Others are 712 early childhood education chairs and 99 Scrabble boards all valued at more than K556,000.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at Kansanshi Community Centre on Wednesday, North-Western Province Permanent Secretary Colonel Katambi described as “tremendous” the work done by the mining giant towards socio-economic development in the district and the province.
Col Katambi noted that the Government could not wish for a better partner than Kansanshi Mining Plc who were willing to invest in the future of the country.
“We uphold the truism that children are our future and educated children are our guarantee of a bright future. I wish to appreciate most sincerely the investments that Kansanshi Mining Plc makes into the lives of our people as today is a further testimony of that responsive corporate citizenship by the company. We salute you,” Col Katambi said in a speech read on his behalf by provincial Deputy Director Planning Davison Mapiza.
Col Katambi has reiterated that the New Dawn Government envisions a Zambia in which there are adequate opportunities for all citizens, which requires massive investment into development fundamentals such as agriculture, health, infrastructure and education.
The PS stressed that the task is massive and requires all like-minded development partners and corporates put their shoulder to the heel with the government towards the future everyone aspires for.
“As a country, we are blessed with abundant natural resources that to this date remain largely untapped, our people included. We still have too many of our people lacking even the rudiments of literacy and numeracy, living lives of squalor and basic subsistence and without the ability to transform our natural resources into wealth and development,” Col Katambi said.
The investment the mining company had made was a gesture of monumental importance not only in the size of the investment but more importantly in its impact on schools in the district.
“Books for pleasure help develop literacy and a reading culture as people who read are people who learn. They are leaders in development, being able to adopt and adapt technology and can craft solutions to the complex and often dynamic ICT-driven environment in which we live in. Thanks to Kansanshi Mining Plc, that situation in schools in Solwezi is rapidly changing,” Col Katambi added.
Speaking at the same event, company General Manager Anthony Mukutuma noted that since 2013, the mining firm had handed over more than 150,000 books to Government as part of its contribution to education in the district.
“We are proud to be handing over this package for a variety of reasons. While textbooks that we have assisted with over the years are essential in the delivery of education, they however do much to develop the lifelong skills of literacy and the love of reading in students,” Mukutuma said in a speech read on his behalf by the mine’s Meteorological Manager Crossby Chongo.
“We know that schools have been battling to put textbooks in the hands of children. In that battle, supplementary readers are something schools have understandably considered a luxury but we know that if learners are to grow their literacy skills, they need materials that are also fun to read and we have come in to fill that gap.”
The cultural relevance of the books was unquestionable as readers were able to relate with the stories, thereby enhancing their literacy skills.
“We are also proud to be contributing to the establishment of early childhood education in schools and to the development of twenty-first century skills in learners through educational games like Scrabble,” Mukutuma said.
The mine manager has since implored school management against storing the learning materials in their cupboards and offices but rather make them accessible to learners.