One way in which Twin Fountain is different from other colleges is the chance for our students to finance themselves.
A big challenge for development in Africa is this general “beggar mentality” – oh help me I am poor. As much as it is true that there are a lot of poor people in this country, but there are ways to overcome some of this poverty. Instead of concentrating on “what we do not have” we need to look at the opportunities that are available. That is why we tell our students that development does not start with money or a lot of cattle or a vehicle, but development starts with thinking.
In order to practice this our students get a small garden where to grow vegetables. We realize that not all of our students will become vegetable farmers, but vegetables grow fast and are reasonably profitable for them to make some money in a short time. Growing maize (corn) one may feed a family, but you cannot really make money with corn in this country. We have a well-established marketing system, with our own shop in Kalomo as well as taking vegetables to the next bigger town Choma. Students who do well in their garden have the opportunity to get a bigger garden.
We are charging currently about $ 120 tuition per term. A student with average vegetable production can finance that him/her self. Those who work well can make enough money, that their account grows which we will pay out to them at graduation. Melvin Siakasasa, a student who graduated in August after being here for two years was paid out about $ 300, after he had come to the office several times to withdraw some money already.
Unfortunately not every student is learning to use that opportunity, but the majority can finace themselves and a few like Melvin are even getting “rich”. (Depending on whose statistics you look at, the average annual income in Zambia is about $ 850)