We often ask visitors to Africa what their biggest shock has been. Many say it is in facing overwhelming poverty. We can live in Africa and turn a blind eye, but Alison and I decided a long time ago not to do that. We have tried to follow the Christian principle of care and compassion for the less fortunate, and we see education as one of the keys to alleviating poverty.

In 2008, after 13 years of teaching in well-endowed fee-paying schools in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, we established The Limapela Foundation in New Zealand, with the help of a number of friends. We subsequently purchased Cedric's School, near Kitwe in Zambia, to avert its closure and ensure its continuation.

Cedric's School was started by settler farmer Cedric Whittemore in 1979 to provide education for the children of his employees. Later it provided places for the employees of other farmers and eventually it served the whole community. When the Foundation purchased the school in 2009 it had a roll of 240 children in Grades 1-7. Since then we have extended to Grades 8 and 9 and have expanded the buildings, equipment and facilities. This year (2013) 350 pupils are enrolled, and we would like to extend to a capacity of 500 children and young people over the next few years.

Over half of Zambians are under the age of 15, and by far the majority of these, especially those in rural areas, come from disadvantaged homes. As a developing nation, Zambia is not yet able to provide enough school places for all these children. Should children from poor homes receive a poor education? No! And Limapela Development in Zambia is committed to improving this situation.

Limapela is also committed to self-sufficiency. In 2012, with generous assistance from the NZ Government Head of Mission Fund in Pretoria and several other donors, we started a commercial agri-business venture to include a chicken operation, a comprehensive irrigation system and a banana plantation. Income generated from these projects will help to pay the monthly running costs of Limapela Cedric's School.

In December 2012 Limapela Development agreed to take over the administration of a second school — Luyando Community School — started and funded by the British Charity Give Hope International. This school also serves a poor rural community near Ndola and has well over 300 pupils enrolled in Grades 1-7. Like Cedric's School, it was facing closure due to poor management.

The needs in Zambia are enormous and sometimes overwhelming. We face each challenge as it arises, only by God's grace and with the generous support of many kind-hearted people around the world.

Please visit for more information.

Matthew and Alison
17 January 2013

Tags: Education | Limapela | Matthew & Alison | School | Zambia

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