Zambian Immersion Project is a programme whereby eight pupils, accompanied by three teachers, spend two weeks in the town of Mufilira in northern Zambia. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of Third World issues here at home as well as to raise much needed funds to aid the Christian Brothers with their charitable work in Zambia. The programme is open to fourth and fifth year students and takes place biannually. After undergoing a rigorous selection process, the chosen students organise a variety of fund raising activities before making the long journey to Africa around Easter time.
This year will be the fourth occasion that students from this school participate in the programme. While in Zambia they will engage in a wide array of experiences which will prove both challenging and highly rewarding. They will spend two mornings teaching in a local primary school; a difficult task given the lack of adequate resources for both teaching and learning. They will also visite a Christian Brothers run, adult training centre which teaches skills such as carpentry, metalwork, tailoring and construction, as well as spending two mornings digging foundations for a new complex for the elderly which the Christian Brothers are developing. Visits are also arranged to an orphanage, an old people’s home and an AIDS hospice for the dying. These visits were particularly rewarding as visitors are a rarity and the pupils are given extraordinarily warm welcomes.
I previous years, thanks to the hard work of the students and the incredible generosity of local people, the school was able to donate over €30,000 to the Christian Brothers’ project in Mufilira. This money helped to fund their training centre, feeding programme, irrigation scheme and building projects. Zambia is a very impoverished country which has seen a whole generation of its people decimated by AIDS. Yet despite the difficulties of everyday life, the Zambian people are extremely friendly, fun loving and appreciative of what little they have. There is a lot that we can learn from them and for the students who get the opportunity to visit Zambia, it can be a life changing experience.
Last Friday 8th April was a momentous day in Thurles C.B.S. as the entire school community gathered in the school yard to wave off our eight students and four teachers who were departing for Mufilira in northern Zambia. After an arduous thirty hour journey the students involved ( Graham Maher, Peter Judge, Cathal Walsh, Nathan Carroll, Brian O Connor, Paul Bowden, James Tobin and Eoin Long) along with their teachers ( Mr. Maher, Ms. Morrissey, Ms. Hall and Mr. Aherne) arrived safely at their destination and have been participating in a busy schedule of events. In total, the group will spend two weeks in Zambia where they will be visiting an old people’s home, an orphanage and an AIDS hospice as well as teaching at a primary school and visiting an adult training centre in the village of Murundu. While in Zambia they will be staying with Br. Michael O Donoghue, former principal of Thurles C.B.S.. This is certain to be an inspiring and life changing experience for all involved and for the school community as a whole.