Zicky and Wilbroad Chanda, founders of Lighthouse Christian School in Ndola, Zambia, recently visited Covenant Mercies’ US offices. In honor of the school’s tenth anniversary, Director of Development Joanne Burak sat down to talk with the Chandas about Lighthouse and the surrounding community.
What does a typical day at Lighthouse look like for a student?
ZC: We start our classes at 7:30 in the morning. Monday and Friday mornings we have assembly. In assembly, each class presents something they have learned. We also have clubs— Drama Club, Cultural Club, Scripture Club, and Art Club— so the Drama Club may also present something, or the Cultural Club will present a dance.
…Monday afternoon we have Reading, Tuesday afternoon we offer Remedial studies, and Wednesday afternoon they have [other] classes. Thursdays and Fridays they [leave] at 12:30pm. Within the week, each grade has a day of physical education.
Congratulations on 100% of last year’s seventh grade class passing their national exams. Tell us a bit about the Zambian education system.
WC: We inherited the British system… So we have primary school from grades 1 to 7… grade 8 and 9 is junior secondary school, 10 to 12 is senior secondary school, then a university or college.
The government is big on English, Science, and Math. Grade 7 national exams are multiple choice but very demanding. You sit for seven subjects. There are two of them that are an aptitude test, like the SATs— critical/analytical thinking.
…This is where we talk about God’s faithfulness. It is impressive for [Lighthouse] to score 100%, given our kids… The kids in the nice residential, high-cost, low-density areas, they are at an advantage. Whether you are from the village or the bush, you must write that exam…
In grade 9, they [Zambian students] have another exam to proceed to grade 10. Many make it to eighth grade, but not so many make it to tenth grade… Then there is an exam in grade 12 which is even tougher, because now you are fighting to get into college or university. It’s different from here [the USA] where you are in 12th grade this fall, and maybe the next fall you are in college. Even if you get good grades, it takes one to two years before you even go to university.
What is your favorite thing about leading Lighthouse Christian School?
ZC: My favorite part is seeing these children being transformed, not just academically— even spiritually. That is the greatest joy.
We were just talking about 100% [of the seventh grade class] passing [their national exams] last year… I remember when I got the results, I was going through each name and I found out that everyone had qualified to go to grade 8. That was a joy, just to see these kids entering high school.
The pre-schoolers that are coming, most of them don’t know how to speak English. By the end of the year, they are able to say their ABCs, they are able to sing rhymes, they are able to communicate— it is just a joy.
Can you share anything about future construction plans for the school?
ZC: In terms of construction, we are in the third phase for the school…that will become the computer labs, art labs, a library, and we hope for more classrooms.
How can we pray for you and Lighthouse?
ZC: My prayer request has always been for God’s wisdom… there are so many decisions I have to make on a daily basis… So really, my prayer is for God’s wisdom and guidance. I don’t know where Lighthouse will be ten years from now, but God knows— because He is the one who has seen it through up to this moment.
Zicky Chanda is the Director of Lighthouse Christian School and helps to coordinate Covenant Mercies’ Orphan Sponsorship Program in Ndola, Zambia. Wilbroad is the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Ndola. Together, the Chandas founded Lighthouse Christian School in 2005. Covenant Mercies partnered with the school in 2006, later building a new and expanded campus. Today, Lighthouse serves 250 students in grades pre-K through 7.
Missed Part 1 of our interview with Wilbroad and Zicky Chanda? Check it out here.