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Zambian kids put on path to education

Chinese company sets up school for children of African employees

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-16 09:13

A teacher (standing) gives a lesson to students and some of their parents at the Chenguang Academy in Zambia. CHINA DAILY

Like most teachers, Nyeleti Chris wants to do all he can to ensure his students have more opportunities in the future.

Chris, 35, is an instructor at the Chenguang Academy, a primary school in Zambia established in 2020 by Chenguang Biotechnology Group, which is based in Quzhou county in Handan, Hebei province.

"I am very grateful that the company established this school and even hired a Chinese teacher from China, so that our children can enjoy good teaching resources and have more possibilities for their future," said Chris, who teaches Chinese at the school due to his study experience in China.

"My colleagues and I are able to have well-paying jobs to support our families, and the company has provided us with a place to live, which is a rare treat in the area."

Besides the school, the Chenguang Biotechnology Group has two farms in Zambia for planting chiles and marigolds.

The plants are used to make paprika oleoresin, a natural pigment used in a variety of products such as food, medicines and cosmetics, as well as lutein, a colorant and nutritional supplement, according to Liu Fenghai, general manager of the company's branch in Zambia.

The company's Sinazongwe Farm, where chiles are planted, has hired more than 200 full-time employees who work as security guards, drivers, warehouse keepers, cooks, welders, electricians, operators and managers overseeing plantation, irrigation and agricultural machinery, according to Liu.

It also hires temporary workers during busier periods such as chile harvest time. "We hire as many as 6,000 temporary workers during busy periods," Liu said.

He said the other site — the Chibombo Farm for planting marigolds — can employ more than 3,000 full-time and seasonal workers.

The company's full-time employees can send their children to the Chenguang Academy for free. Currently, the school has seven teachers, including one from China, instructing about 100 students from preschool to sixth grade, according to Liu.

"Due to the poor educational resources here, many local people have never been to school," he said.

Given the education situation in Zambia, the company has encouraged employees to send their children to the school, emphasizing the importance of knowledge and promising that the company will provide suitable jobs after students graduate.

"Because of the existence of the primary school established by Chenguang, I can read and study," said 12-year-old student Rashidah Buyala.

"I will cherish everything now and study hard. I hope to have the opportunity to work and live in China in the future."

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