The Little Assisi School in Lusaka is a school for children with learning disabilities run by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood. School manager, Sr. Kay O'Neill, applied for funding to support the employment of 4 pre-school teachers.
In their application the Little Assisi School told us that without these dedicated members of staff they could not operate as a school. The school does not get any government support so is dependent completely on donations from within Zambia and abroad.
The children learn to write, basic arithmetic, art and music. "What most children excel in is learning nursery rhymes, songs and dances, they really come to life when there is a party".
Time at school gives mothers and grandmothers some time, for chores and with their other children. The work and commitment of the staff also raises local awareness of disability, the ability of the children and encourages community participation and inclusion.
Sr. Kay O'Neill told us about the history of the Little Assisi Special School:
“It is by the care we show to the most weak and vulnerable in our society that civilization can be judged.”
This small centre started in 2005 with just five children in a room at a Community School in Ng’ombe. We managed to purchase our present premises towards the end of 2006 with the help of the FMDM Congregation and some donors.
We opened the School and Day Centre there in January 2007.
We now have 66 children registered at the Centre and we have an attendance of around 35 children daily. They attend from 8 am to 12.30 pm, receive a snack mid-morning and a meal at midday.
We provide dried milk, ground nuts, soya and eggs to children who are malnourished.
The following are some of the conditions we encounter:
AIMS OF THE CENTRE TO PROVIDE TEACHING:
TO HELP FAMILIES:
TO HELP parents and guardians…
The population of Ng’ombe is about 50,000, with approximately 70% of the people living below the poverty line. The Government are not yet able to provide low rent housing for people in the compounds and so each family has to build their own house as best they can or rent from another. Some of these houses comprise just one or two rooms and most have no electricity or running water.
Roads are bad and can become impassable in the rainy season.