At home, our students don’t usually enter reading contests like this. Take a look at this little guy in a reading competition with eight other schools in the area, a first for Uyoba School. Just a year earlier, Africa Hope Fund provided a new reading program with books for each student. Their test scores jumped that year.

 The host school was huge, with a big library and lots of resources, but it didn’t intimidate them in the least.

Our students walked into the library with a panel of adults sitting along the left wall to score them.  Using a long pointer, they were to read each sentence out loud, in a strong, clear voice, pointing to each word as they read them.

We sat on the other side holding our breath, nervous for them. Some of our students were so young and short they could barely get the pointer high enough to reach the words on the chalkboard.  Our students stepped up to the board confidently, held the pointer sticks firmly, and read their lines as they tapped each word with confidence and boldness. We were amazed at their poise and confidence and kept looking at each other and grinning with pride. The results came after we left.

When the competition was over, we gave each young competitor a beverage. As we motored back to the school, the smell of country life in the village swept through our open Land Rover and they waved at everyone alongside the road from their vantage point in the safari vehicle and sang, “We are the winners” in Nyanja. They knew how far they had come. What a thrilling moment it was when we got the word later in the day that our students came in third out of nine schools for their very first reading competition. Africa Hope Fund finds ways to empower and support Zambians and local nonprofits and then we go to work here at home to meet their needs.


Written by Patricia Cole

An Africa Hope Fund board member for 7 years, Pat is a writer and a conservation activist. After traveling to Zambia, she became dedicated to helping Africa Hope Fund provide education to the next generation of Africans and ensure their future by protecting wildlife. Find Patricia on Facebook and Twitter, or on her websites and

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Carol Van Brugen