Education: the Game-Changer

“If we want tomorrow to look different than today in the communities where we work, education is key. It’s a game-changer.”
Bestone Banda, Kids Alive Zambia Country Director

We believe that education, academic and Biblical, is foundational to the transformation of children, communities, and society. With our dedicated teams of local teachers and caretakers, we champion the lives and futures of thousands of students around the world. We watch in expectation as God takes our efforts and multiplies them for maximal impact. In this newsletter, you will learn about Kids Alive Academy in Zambia, and how you can become a champion for children in our 11 schools around the world.

Zambia’s Kids Alive Academy is located close to Katongo Village, near Mongu, the capital of the Western Province of Zambia. The Academy stands against several harsh economic and health-related realities children face in this community. One in five Zambian children does not attend school, and more than a million are conscripted into child labor or early marriages – yet enrollment in school changes these outcomes.

Academy classes include English (the official language of Zambia), mathematics, science, computer, art, and Bible. Additionally, children receive a lunchtime meal, which for many of them is the only food they will eat that day. Some students are provided with supplemental food to take home each week to ensure that their family doesn’t go without food over the weekends and school holidays.

“I was an orphan, and someone helped me.” – Matengu Kalaluka


Since he was a young boy, Matengu Kalaluka imagined that he would be a teacher one day. He always tried to finish his work quickly in class so he could
walk around and help his fellow students. His teachers, noticing his interest and gift, eventually challenged him to pursue a teaching career.

While he was fortunate to have access to education and mentors who believed in him, Matengu noticed that many young people in his community were deprived of such opportunities. Some were too poor to afford school tuition or the required school uniforms. Others were forced to work to provide sustenance for their family, unfortunately perpetuating a cycle of generational poverty. Many were orphaned, often left on their own all day on the streets; many girls not in school became child brides (child
marriage rates in Zambia stand at 29%). Matengu saw that education was a path to breaking these negative cycles, but too many children were overlooked or forgotten by government systems.

Sadly, these realities are familiar in many communities around the world. Children, precious to God, with incredible potential, encounter barriers that hold them back. But wherever Kids Alive serves, we seek children whose potential is squashed by the communities and circumstances of their birth.

Matengu was drawn to Kids Alive because of our focus on such children. “I had such a heart for vulnerable children and orphans because I was an orphan, and someone helped me.” In 2019, Matengu was chosen to lead Kids Alive Academy in Mongu. He quickly came to appreciate how the children aren’t just names in a file in this school, but everything is tailored for the individual success of each student. Matengu reinforces this approach in his teachers and all the staff:

“Each of us had someone who took special interest in us, who made a difference in our lives. Let’s be that for these students God has entrusted to us.”

“I look at each child in my classroom as an individual.” – Mooka Ngangana

In contrast to Matengu, Mooka Ngangana never intended to become a teacher. But as he watched his 12th grade teacher show such special interest in the personal needs of her students – calling them when they missed class, spending her own money to help with school supplies – Mooka was inspired. He saw God’s love in action in a classroom setting and decided he needed to be a part of that.

Mooka teaches Science and English for 5th through 7th graders at Zambia’s Kids Alive Academy and he knows that significant transformation extends beyond typical school curriculum.

Kids Alive teachers are Christians in action: daily, they integrate faith into their teaching and student relationships, but Fridays have a special focus at the Academy. Each Friday, time is set aside for worship and singing, Bible teaching, and character education. Students explore new ways to express themselves and hone their leadership skills. Some students lead worship, others demonstrate Biblical teaching through skits, and all learn to share the Gospel with others.

Mooka and his Zambian colleagues, like Kids Alive teachers worldwide, look beyond students’ academic performance to other indicators of their overall wellbeing. When he encounters performance or behavioral problems, he looks deeper to find underlying issues. Teams of professionals at the schools work to address challenges in a child’s home life, nutritional deficiencies, and health challenges.

All Kids Alive teachers and staff are trained in trauma-informed care in order to competently nurture their students’ emotional health.

Though the Academy does not extend to secondary school (high school), graduates of the Academy stand out as they enter the local secondary schools, and many continue on to university. As Matengu relates, “Other school directors regularly ask us, ‘What is your secret to developing such dedicated students and leaders?’” Students go on to become accountants, pastors, nurses, teachers – leaders in their community. As they pursue their passion and God’s purpose for their lives, we witness God’s
multiplying power play out in generational and societal change.

Breaking Down Barriers to Academic Success

Like Mooka at the Academy in Zambia, all Kids Alive teachers are trained to identify students whose needs extend beyond academics. Our schools provide wrap-around services and often partner with organizations that help us address non-academic needs which, if left unresolved, will negatively impact student achievement. This holistic approach plays out uniquely in our different countries. For example, wrap-around services in the Dominican Republic include:

    • Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
    • Counseling, social work, dentistry, and nutrition
    • Healthcare – acute/chronic and preventive
    • Education for students, staff, and parents in trauma-informed care, CPR and First Aid
    • Structured approach to community service
    • Assistance with life skills and job skills
    • Weekly spiritual support and Bible teaching