The farmer looks out into the field. It's been bad year for the crops. There is barely any water to even try to break even this season. The farmer tries to keep his family going but sacrifices must be made. He can know longer afford the fees associated with sending his child to school. This is the status quo in Kaoma, West Province, the most underdeveloped part of Zambia. This is where 75% of the population is below the poverty line based on $1 per day.
This is where Sr. Prema Antony’s life’s mission begins.
Sr. Prema Anthony, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PBVM), began her ministry in the Presentation Secondary School in 2017. The school serves approximately 1,700 students. Out of these students, 402 are from single parent households and another 250 are orphans. Presentation Secondary provides quality education to poor and vulnerable children who may not be able to be admitted into other schools due to the inability to pay higher school fees and other requirements. When Sr. Prema arrived at the school she noticed there was a big problem.
“I noticed that the students were learning science from a book or occasionally a demonstration from a teacher in a very poorly equipped Primary School science lab,” said Sr. Prima.
To help solve this issue, Sr. Prema used the knowledge gained from Leadership and Administration training through ASEC's Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program. Throughout the course of the workshop, Sr. Prema acquired many skills that enabled her to help run the school more effectively and efficiently. One of the many skills that she learned was grant writing.
“Knowing that one cannot learn or teach science properly without a practical lab, I used the knowledge I gained from ASEC to apply to the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters for a grant to purchase science equipment and books,” said Sr. Prema.
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As a result of Sr. Prema’s skills the school received a grant of $15,000.
“The purchase of the science equipment has greatly enhanced the teaching and learning process in the school,” said Sr. Prema. “For the teacher as well as the students, time at the lab are treasured moments now.”