As recently as four years ago, the small and isolated village of Ndumbin was an afterthought within the Lebialem Highlands region. It was hard to reach and had received very little in terms of government support. The only way in and out of the village was on a small foot path through the jungle. The hike was arduous. G.S. Ndumbin consisted of a small building with no uniforms, limited textbooks and very few school materials. Some children went to school, others didn’t. Many families could not afford to send their children to school, or simply chose to not send them, instead preferring to employ their kids as subsistence farmers.
|Number of Teachers
|4 Gov’t, 1 PTA (ICA sponsored)
|Number of Pupils
|12/12, 100% (2014)
Within the last three years, Ndumbin received two life-altering improvements. First, a road was cleared by a bulldozer. It was paid for by a businessman who originally grew up in the area. He had moved away several years prior for school and work, but returned in 2011 to help connect his village to the rest of the region. The second improvement was funded by ICA Canada. The school was revamped with a new building, new latrines, new uniforms, textbooks and the sponsoring of a handful of Parent Teacher Assistants (PTA). Families are no longer burdened by the need to provide their children with expensive school materials.
“I can say that the first time I arrived here, the education situation of this institution was somehow backwards. And the backwardness could not be forced down by I alone. We had to work in team. So you know, together, we are more stronger than when we are divided. So I came with my own ideas and we collaborated together, we worked together to see that we change certain things. And in the three years that I’ve been here, the massive assistance of the Canadians has been very, very, impressive. The children have their textbooks, workbooks, everything, in tact.”– William Tazamu, Class 4 teacher (February 19th, 2015)
G.S. Ndumbin is currently divided into two distinct sections. Grades 1 to 3 attend class in the old building, while grades 4-6 work in the newer, ICA-sponsored, building. The ICA building has a big logo on the wall that states “A.K.A. Canada – The Promise Land”. The logo is used as an incentive to motivate the younger pupils to graduate and move into the “Canada” building.
Possibilities for continued development
Although the situation in Ndumbin has greatly improved, the village and school still has numerous obstacles to overcome. First, the river that divides Ndumbin floods during the rainy season. It was reported that six children have died in the past 12 years while trying to cross it. The village chief recommended that ICA sponsor a PTA to educate the younger children on the far side of the river. He offered his residence as a possible educational venue. Second, the government started a water filtration system in the village but it was never completed. Ndumbin has piped water, however it is not filtered properly. More investigation into this matter is required. Third, the headmaster at G.S. Ndumbin requested a teachers’ office and a new building for the pre-schoolers. Fourth, one very motivated government teacher named William has initiated adult-literacy classes. He offers courses to fifteen adults three times per week in the evenings. This is a wonderful initiative and he is making do with what little teaching materials he has. He would benefit from receiving adult literacy teaching materials.
While the road to Ndumbin was created by the businessman, the road to education was built by ICA Canada. In many ways, Ndumbin is accessible now more than ever.