Youngnak Christian School

With Rev Peter Seoyoung Kim, Shane and Anna outside Youngnak Christian School

Youngnak Christian School was founded about nine years ago by my good friend and collaborator in Chipulukusu, Rev. Peter Seoyoung Kim. Rev Kim is a Christian missionary from South Korea. He founded a primary school to cater to the children of Chipulukusu, with most of the places in the school reserved for orphans.

Rev Kim had a difficulty in running his school, in that there were no books available for the school, and no book shops or libraries from which he could obtain books. Fortunately, I was able to help.

From small beginnings, we have been able to work with Rev Kim and Youngnak Christian School, by supplying them with increasing numbers of books, and then also school desks and chairs and laptop computers, whiteboards and general school supplies, all of which were donated by people, schools and libraries in Ireland.

When books arrived in Graceland School

Our last shipping container of school books and school materials arrived at Youngnak in November 2021, just in time for the opening of Youngnak’s new secondary school. The container included a large number of desks and school equipment, as well as books, all donated by schools and libraries in Ireland.

Container being unloaded in Youngnak School, November 2021

Working with Youngnak and Rev Kim has not all been one way. They have provided me with invaluable help and advice and support over the years. It was the teachers of Youngnak who first suggested that teacher training in literacy and teaching skills were needed. Having supplied many schools in and around Chipulukusu with a vast amount of books for the first time, it quickly became apparent that many teachers simply had no experience in dealing with books, and did not know how to teach reading and literacy. With advice from Youngnak teachers, we set ourselves on a course of providing teacher-training seminars. Youngnak Christian School hosts those seminars and they put their school facilities at our disposal.

Teacher Training at Youngnak School, August 2019

Over the past few years, we have brought Irish teachers and educational psychologists to Zambia, to help train Zambian teachers in teaching skills and literacy. We have been able to familiarise the Zambian teachers with modern teaching methods and help them to make the best use out of the books which have been supplied. We have also taught a large number of teachers how to use computers. In all of this, Youngnak Christian School has been an invaluable partner.

Teachers and Irish volunteers at the teacher-training seminar in Youngnak Christian School, August 2022

Each year when we conduct our seminars, Youngnak Christian School put the entire of their school and facilities at our disposal. They organise and invite, on each occasion, over 100 teachers from different schools in the area. They provide us with classrooms to accommodate the lessons and their church hall for our larger meetings. They have put their cooking facilities and staff at our disposal to help to feed the participants, and they have given us meeting rooms to prepare.

There is nothing in Chiupulukusu which compares with the facilities of Youngnak Christian School. Every child who attends that school gets the best start possible in life, in that location. It has been, and remains, a Privilege to work with Youngnak Christian School, and its visionary founder, Rev. Kim.

Together, we are making a difference.

Teacher training at Youngnak school, August 2018
Aoife Donegan and Hakky Mulenga, August 2018