Are animal dung and torn clothes on your child’s school supply list? No? Then they’re not a student at our most rural school in Chongwe, Zambia.

Back to school shopping is well underway here in the States. Parents are clutching school supply lists as they steer their kids through the store aisles, filling their carts with colorful folders, markers, pencils and pens. Back to school shopping looks a little different for a child preparing for their school year in Chongwe, Zambia. It is because of you that children in this remote village even have a school to go to. This school started in 2005, under a tree, with just a few students. Today, there are more than 600 children who walk the dirt road to this campus every day. Here is the school supply list for a child getting ready for school in this rural village.

  1. Bag of animal dung.
    Here, a few of the supplies are in use. The seedlings and manure in the garden, and the bricks made from manure (above).


  • Animal dung is used to fertilize the garden at school. This garden is helping teach students about agriculture, is used to feed them, and is building sustainability and not total dependency. Students are also using this to make bricks for a future chicken house which will likewise be used to feed students and teachers.
  1. Ashes.
  • Ashes are used to clean the pit latrines and for washing hands. The ashes created from burning wood while cooking or warming water for bathing are repurposed for cleaning because they contain lye. Nothing goes to waste!
  1.  Seedlings.
  • These are also for the school garden. Currently they are growing Chinese cabbage and plain cabbage, pumpkins, onions, and collard greens.
  1. Torn clothes.
  • Students use their torn clothing to make door mats for their classrooms. They wear clothes until they are literally so tattered that they are falling off of them, and then they give them new life in the classroom.
  1. Toilet paper.
  • Toilet paper is a luxury in Zambia, especially in rural areas like Chongwe. If you want to use it, you had better bring it.

There are still hundreds of children who are waiting for their chance to be educated, wishing they had the chance to receive a school supply list like this one. With your continued support, more classrooms can be built and more children can have the opportunity to be educated!

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