My Eyes are red
One day as I was travelling to Kabwe to see my parents I sat next to a gentleman who was going to Copperbelt to see his sick mother. Before, I spoke to the gentleman I looked at his face and could read that he was in problem. I wandered what was wrong with him. His lips could not hide his problem. He continued to speak to himself and pretending that he was not talking to himself. I looked at him for some time to see if he could notice my presence. The man was deeply thinking aloud. I could hear some of the thoughts and talks to himself. He was wandering how he could assist his sick mother who was admitted in the hospital. I kept looking at him so that I could attract his attention and after some time the man finally noticed my presence.
''How are you sir?'' he greeted me. ''Am OK sir'', I answered. The gentleman introduced himself as Evans Lumpuma. I asked him what was wrong since he kept talking to himself. He told me that I had been looking for someone to talk to so that he could share his problems. I could see his smile and excitement to tell his story.
According to Lumpuma he told me that he was a self imposed 'Single orphan'. He declared himself as a single orphan because his father deserted home after getting his retirement package. Lumpuma complained bitterly how his father treated them. He could not speak any kind words about the father. His father used to beat his mother almost daily. His father did not cared about his education and never supported him in any way. Even, when his dad got his retirement package he decided to leave home and settled with a girlfriend. It was at this time Lumpuma said enough was enough and declared himself as a single orphan. He did this in order to comfort himself and forget the mistreatment he endured under his father.
So, getting educated was a struggle. Although his mother tried to push him further in education, Lumpuma did not complete his school. His inability to complete school has always troubled him in his life. He has always admired people who boast about their education and how education has done to them. To him completion of education was the most important thing in life.
So this day when he was travelling to Kitwe the thought came again. It reminded him the suffering that he went through when was with his father. He remembered the troubles and shouting that he was subjected to by the father. He was also trouble by the fact he did not complete school. Lumpuma always spoke to himself that lack of education is lack of future. He also complains to people hoping one day he could find a Good Samaritan who could offer him a scholarship so that he can complete school.
After listening to the story, my eyes turned red and wandered what could be done to school dropouts. How best can we help the children that are facing financial challenges. This story also made me begin to realize the role of society in helping our neighbor in educating our children. Our society has so many young people that are not educated. Sometimes we even laugh at these children. Some of these children are our own children or brothers children. Many of these children live in our neighborhood. Many of us have even employed these children but have never given them education. These children are the one who cry loudest for help, for jobs and financial support.
Molly James is a teacher, writer, editor and proofreader wrote for love to know an online publication that according to the Gates Foundation, 32% of students leave school to provide for their families financially, and drop out of high school to find employment.
Organizations nowadays do not even offer scholarships to children that are financially challenged. My father used to tell me that in their time companies were geared to sponsor children with financial challenges but this case has diminished. Companies are no longer taking up responsibility to support communities in the area of education and sports. Children from impoverished families continue to suffer and struggle to get a good education. The failure by the corporate world and other communities in supporting the society in education is very worrisome.
As Zambians, we should now start exploring ways on how best we can educate our children. Corporate entities should start probing ways on how they can set up scholarship funds for communities. Scholarships should not only be left to government, non-government organization and foreign institution, but each one of us should take up the responsibility and see to it that scholarship trusts can be established so that my children, your children and our children can be educated. I challenge society to wear this responsibility.
A serious drop out problem in our society does affect our economy and so whether or not you have a student at risk, dropout rates are everyone's problem. The Alliance for Excellent Education suggests that if just 50% of students who dropped out were to stay in school, the nation would see robust dividends in the nation.
The story for Lumpuma also reminds me of the street children. I always ask myself a question who is responsible for the education of the street children. Should we continue neglecting them and ask nature to sort them out? I have always wandered when we are going to take street children to school. Our children on the street should go to school. We should not let them be on the street. Government through its ministries of Home Affairs, Community and Education should set up a task force which can make sure that these children go to school. If we do not take them to school, then we should be read to face their anger in future. I see these street children becoming gang leaders who would terrorize our homes. I see them killing my sister, your child and our Mothers. From a distance, we are warned that street children are angry children who would not spare anyone if they are confronted. We have heard stories of how street children have gang raped women. We have also heard stories of how street children have been used in crimes.
Ladies and gentlemen, my appeal to the general public is that lets make education the pride for every child. Many of us, we are what we are because of education.
By Mr. Kelvin Esiasa
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