By:Florence Mumba

There has been another disaster at St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa, the grade 8 and grade 9 classrooms and two administration offices had their roofs ripped off. They were all in one block. This is in addition to the winds of September 2022, which tore the roof off the dining hall. It happened on Monday 21st November 2022 around 16:15hrs, when heavy rains and high winds came up suddenly. The rain was so heavy that no one could see out the windows. Sr Agnes was in the office with three teachers and five grade nine pupils were in class studying. One grade eight pupil was sweeping the classroom. The wind came and ripped the roof off, but all were rescued and are safe. The major disaster is that, all our precious braille notes were soaked and pupils have no way to refer to these notes for their national examinations which start very soon. Florence Mumba is a student at St Mary’s School and has been severely impacted by the storm and the loss of the teaching aids and student learning materials.

Florence’s Story

I, Florence Mumba, am the fourth born in the family of six, two girls and four boys. My mother is blind and my father is partially sighted and in total, five in our family are blind.  We all depend on Braille for all our notes and study aids. This loss of our braille notes because of the damaged roof, has greatly impacted our ability to study for exams as most of our learning is by memorization.

My father is very practical and can do any handiwork. He went to Mozambique where he worked as a cook, house keeper and gardener for Mr. Mooyo. The skills he acquired there are the same skills he used to bring us up. He taught us everything he knew, from personal hygiene, cooking, to gardening. Many people are surprised to see the varied types of work we can do. My father had very good experiences in Mozambique and was helped by a lady there who was blind. I think his positive experience in that country with visually impaired people influenced him to choose our mother as his wife, although she was blind.

Father John a Catholic priest was the main person who insisted that my sister and I start school at St Mary’s Special School, where we were welcomed by teachers and caregivers. I didn’t have any problems with manual work but I had major problems with classwork. My class teacher Madam Maureen, did her very best to teach me how to read and write…in summary am a slow learner. This year I am in Grade 8 but in reality, I should be in Grade eleven, for I repeated three times. I am good in practical subjects like Home Economics but below average in English and Mathematics. My immediate sister is in Grade 11 at St Mary’s Girls Secondary school, she is blind and has sickle cell.

Our family has accepted our situation, because of the education we were given about genes, from the health workers. I am very out-going because I have accepted my condition. Additional health problems are also a challenge, my brother is asthmatic. We know that education is the only key to success, which is why I try so hard to succeed despite disappointments.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help us provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  [email protected] or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.