Meet Juliet Mbewe, Matron at Kasisi Foundation House, Pestalozzi Zambia.
Juliet is responsible for looking after the health and wellbeing of our newest and youngest children, who join our programme from rural areas of Zambia. Many have never seen a town, do not know what a television is, and may never have seen water running from a tap, so it can be an overwhelming initial experience for them. The transition for these young children is very significant, and orienting them properly is a crucial aspect of our work.
We have the foundation house so that our younger children can get used to their new surroundings before starting at the larger school. The children will spend their first two years at Kasisi Foundation House before moving to Ibex Hill to join the larger village and school.
Listen to Juliet tell her story above or read the full interview below:
“My name is Juliet Mbewe, I am a matron at Kasisi foundation house.
Kasisi foundation house is a place where Pestalozzi selected children are looked after. When the children are selected, they come in at Kasisi where they are supposed to start grade 5, and they will spend their first 2 years at Kasisi before they graduate to Ibex in grade 7.
Orient the children from rural communities
So, as a matron, my job is to make sure that the children are oriented nicely and make sure that they are comfortable because most of these children come from rural backgrounds and most of them are new to a set up like this. As a result, I make sure that the children are oriented in all aspects of the village environment, to make sure that they are stable, happy, they are not thinking of parents back home, or homesick. Yes as children that is normal but we make sure that they are encouraged that they came to learn and to make sure that they better their lives.
Strong children – emotionally and health wise
So normally, I also have time to interact with the children because even if the matron has got other roles like administration, but it is also (imperative) that I know all the children in the village and what their needs are and how they will want to feel when they get there. All in all, we make sure that even the upkeep is taken care of so that children are nicely fed to grow into strong children, emotionally and health wise they all be in good shape.
It’s no longer a job, it’s my family
I joined Pestalozzi world in 2009 as a house mother. The work at Pestalozzi is not something I had done before, I just worked in offices. After joining, I loved the whole atmosphere. After being interviewed I just accepted saying it was something new I was going to do in my life. Yes the first few months working as a house parent, I tried my level best making sure that I naturally was being a mother not only to my own children, but also to these children that I never knew.
I have come to learn that at the end of the day, that for the years I have been here, it’s no longer a job to me, but it’s like a family. I am so attached to Pestalozzi more than I am attached to my own family. This is because I spend most of my days here at Pestalozzi.
Seeing the children make it in life
I enjoy my work and I really love to see that these children make it in life, despite their parents being unable to take them to school or making sure that they continue to take them to school.
Attaining the education they deserve
I have come to appreciate Pestalozzi for the job that it has been doing for these years. You can imagine, that even up to now we still have a lot of children who are not going to school in our country because their parents cannot afford taking them to school. Further, what Pestalozzi is doing is a very good job which is supplementing the efforts of the government to see that even children far from the capital city are given a chance to attain the education they deserve.
Children are never lacking
Therefore, we at Pestalozzi and my team we make sure that these children do not lack and fear anything knowing that they are in capable hands and doing everything whole heartedly. Even though they come from different backgrounds, they are able to nicely blend with one another and enjoy the presence of each other. At the end of it all, it is fulfilling seeing how these children have grown and come out to reach as far as college. So for us, we are so appreciative that Pestalozzi has gone deep into making sure that the best can be given to these children, I thank you.”
Juliet Mbewe – February 22 Pestalozzi Zambia
Part 3: Interviews from Pestalozzi Zambia