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St Mary Mother of the Redeemer School, Matero

Matero Parish in Lusaka runs a community school for 250 orphans on its premises, offering daily meals and education free-of charge. The goal of St Mary Mother of the Redeemer School is to give “children who have been left behind” the chance to survive – more or less alone – in the world. The school started out with classes from grades 1 to 8, eventually extending to grade 9. Most of the students live with their grandparents or guardians while others come from child-headed homes. Some of the pupils starting Grade 1 are 12 or 13-year-olds who never had a chance to go to school before. Despite the dire shortage of funds that prohibits competitive salaries for teachers, the school has earned a reputation for solid education and its students perform well. Predictably, the demand to go to the school is overwhelming.