African Village School Fund - Swaziland
Educational grant for a community
What began as reality TV became the reality of regular education for all, a feeding programme and a football team to name but a few of the achievements of the AVSF in the community of Ekudzeni, Swaziland.
Lynn Nestor and her family were chosen in 2001 to live for three months in a village called Ekudzeni (meaning “Far Away”) near Manzini in Swaziland. It was one of the first reality programmes for TV. They went with their three children then 12, 7 and 4. What started as an experiment became their home. The village is small and the only school was over ten miles away and up a mountain. There was no transport attached to the village. If the children could not make the school journey, they were not educated. Lynn and her husband Robert were inspired to help build a village school.
They approached the village Chief, who gave them a patch of land for the school. They raised enough for foundations to be laid. Local people were largely responsible for the building. The school was very simple with no electricity. When the government heard about the school, they gave them a teacher on the condition that a house would be built for her and that there would be proper toilets built and proper fencing around. In the expectation of this being carried out, the Government also gave them a simple bus service so that children from outlying villages could come to the school.
Sadly Lynn and Robert ran out of money and still needed to build the teacher’s house, open up the other two classrooms, fence the area and have a proper running water supply at the school so they could give the children a breakfast when they got to school. in 2012, a great friend of the Trust, Denise Lawson, approached the ALMT which made a grant to complete the teacher's accommodation, the buildings, buy the furnishings, pay for the boundary fence, pay the teachers’ salaries and buy stationery and recreational playground equipment.
Over the years, the ALMT have provided grants for Angus Lawson's primary school, Mungo's Pre-school, the building of a bridge and essential items for the village feeding programme. In 2019, the ALMT made a grant to allow AVSF to undergo vital repairs to the school and the toilet block.