SafMarine "Containerizes" Education in Zambia
Zambia’s Amano Christian School today (Tuesday, September 18, 2007) celebrated the official opening of new school facilities constructed entirely from shipping containers donated by multi-trade shipping line, Safmarine. Twenty-five (25) containers were used to build 10 modern classrooms, one science laboratory and one assembly hall. Safmarine also funded the conversion of the containers, which was done by skilled Zambian artisans.
According to Philip Grove, Chairman of the Amano School’s Board of Trustees, construction of the Amano container school - which takes its name from the Bemba word for ‘wisdom’’ – first began in 2003 and was completed in 2007. Thanking Safmarine for its support, Grove said: “You have invested in the lives of the many children who will pass through Amano School in the years ahead.”
The school currently has 78 students in Grades one to 12 and aims to have 350 learners upon completion of its facilities.
According to Safmarine Africa Region Executive, Alan Jones, “Seafreight containers play an important role in growing trade between Zambia and the rest of the world, and it is therefore appropriate that shipping containers no longer required at sea are able to add value to the Zambian community by providing its children with safe, secure premises in which to further their education.” Jones said it was an honour for Safmarine to partner its customer, the Christian Mission in Many Lands (CMML), in this project. Sunny Brook Christian Trust (a joint venture of CMML and Liebenzell Mission International) coordinated the building project and also provided books and stationery for the school’s learners. The ‘recycling’ of seafreight containers no longer required at sea into permanent, land-based infrastructure is considered an important part of Safmarine’s activities, said Jones. “As global trade grows, so too does the world’s container fleet, which makes it important to find permanent, innovative and sustainable uses for retired shipping containers.” Jones says an estimated 90% of the world’s goods are currently transported in seafreight containers.
The Amano Christian School is situated in Chingola, a mining town in the heart of Zambia’s copper belt and home to a community of around 2.5 million and the world’s largest open-cast copper mine. The school - which provides an education for mainly Aids orphans, children of Zambian Christian workers, missionaries’ children and other Zambian children – has plans to extend its activities beyond childhood education.
Philip Grove says the school is hoping, as part of its future community outreach programme, to provide job opportunities for unemployed people from the local community. “Future plans include building a medical health centre with the emphasis on the care and support of AIDS sufferers, a Christian Conference Centre and youth camp facilities.”
The container-based Amano Christian School is one of several container schools built in Africa by Safmarine as part of its renowned ‘Containers in the Community’ programme, which was established in South Africa in 1991.