We know that people need sufficient supplies of food, water and shelter for basic survival. But to increase opportunities and improve overall quality of life, the basics are often not enough. This is the fundamental idea behind Dwankhozi Hope, a Seattle-based organization and Global Washington member that works to help Zambian families better the Dwankhozi community – not only through necessities such a clean water, but through education, power and community development.
As the story goes, Charles Masala, a U.S.-based engineer who grew up in Zambia, heard about a community near his hometown that started its own school. This was 2003 and the school lacked skilled teachers, resources and government support. Masala was inspired by the dedication of the community’s people and their belief that every child has a right to an education. He wanted to do more than just support this school; he wanted to be a true partner in the development of the Dwankhozi community.
In 2006, with a dedicated group of friends, Masala created Dwankhozi Hope in order to help this community get the assistance it needed to reach its goals of education and self-improvement. Since then, the organization has created better wells for clean water, improved latrines for sanitation and has built the original school into one that serves over 600 students in pre-K through grade nine. There are now textbooks and e-book readers, training and support for teachers and scholarships for children who advance past ninth grade, all thanks to Dwankhozi Hope.
The majority of African governments spend less than one percent of their education budgets on programs to improve literacy. So it is not surprising to learn that, according to UNESCO, 38 percent of African adults are illiterate. In light of this, organizations such as Dwankhozi Hope are essential to the education of underprivileged African youth.
Alongside its intrinsically good purpose, Dwankhozi Hope’s methods are equally commendable. As described on its website, the organization works directly with the community it serves. This means constantly listening to input from community members, and a willingness to take direction from the people who live in the community day in and day out. This cannot be done without regular visits to the community and productive communication between the organization and community leaders. And because Dwankhozi Hope is a completely volunteer-run organization without much overhead, they were able to dedicate 86 percent of last year’s donations directly into the community and its school.
All of this is done under Dwankhozi Hope’s mantra that it’s “not about charity, it’s about justice.” As the website states, “The community has the will. We don’t pretend to the have all the answers. But together, we are working to bring quality education to a community who longs to provide their children the opportunities we take for granted here.”
For more information, or to learn how to support Dwankhozi Hope transform the children and families of Zambia through community empowerment, visit its website.