By  | 
Firm’s foundation-sponsored schoolchildren make the grade in national exams
Pupils at Sentinel School in Kalumbila

Pupils at Sentinel School in Kalumbila

KALUMBILA, ZAMBIA – Twelve vulnerable children in the Kalumbila District of North-Western Province have had their lives transformed forever thanks to First Quantum Minerals’ scholarship programme which helps underprivileged youngsters.
The mining firm has highlighted the vital role access to a good education plays in building a strong foundation in the lives of vulnerable schoolchildren so they can flourish and grow to be stronger and healthier members of society. In congratulating the 12 FQM-sponsored scholars at Sentinel School in Kalumbila for scoring a 100 per cent pass rate their Grade 9 national examinations and proceeding to Grade 10, FQM’s Trident Foundation manager Garth Lappeman explained the initiative’s vision. He outlined that if a child has potential but lacks the resources, he or she can still get a good quality education.

“The Trident Foundation sponsors a large number of scholars from the region. Students are chosen selected through a screening process of their school grades and independent testing to attend Frontier Nkisu Primary or Sentinel Kalumbila Secondary. Scholars are supported throughout their primary or secondary career and those students who do well in their Grade 7 exams have a good chance of their sponsorship being extended to cover secondary school,” he said.

Mr Lappeman however pointed out that not everyone can get a scholarship, but that if a child works hard and shows good aptitude and attitude, then they can apply for assistance. “This gives hope and creates healthy competition which in itself has positive results. The scholarship programme targets underprivileged children, with a prequalifying condition that the parents of the scholars should be unemployed.

Pupils at Sentinel School in Kalumbila

Pupils at Sentinel School in Kalumbila

“On a similar principle, we have just completed 200+ Learning Potential Computer Assisted Tests to the top performing Grade 9s and Grade 12s in our local recruitment database. “Every one of them was endorsed by Senior Chief Musele, and are local. Again, to shortlist the crème de la crème from the local community for possible future job and training opportunities. And the trajectory of their lives is changed forever because of these scholarships and we are sure they will break out of the poverty cycle because of it too.”

The mining firm has done this by aligning its community initiatives with every one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a move that puts the mining giant at the forefront of best practice in private sector social investment locally and globally. The overall objective of Trident Foundation’s education development programmes is to improve the quality of education in the schools around communities near Kalumbila mine.

Education, health, employment and overall prosperity – everything begins with a proper education. For a mining company like FQM, helping to create strong, well-managed communities is both a social responsibility and a business imperative.