From soldier to headmaster

by / Tuesday, 01 October 2013 / Published in News Archive
Cattle raids exacerbate volatile situations - by Murray Anderson

Imagine fighting for 27 years in a brutal civil war. Then, one day, the war ends and peace is restored. It’s something you never thought you’d live to see, but now that it’s happened – what do you do when you have been a soldier your whole life? One such a soldier, Artur Kammeico, decided to follow his dream of becoming a teacher. This is his story.

Artur’s story is the story of Angola’s past, present and future, and why JAM’s nutritional school feeding programme plays such a significant role in the future of Angola.

Artur was enlisted in the army as a teenager in the early 1970’s, after which he spent the next 27 years fighting in a brutal civil war, during which 500 000 people are estimated to have been killed. The ending of hostilities in 2002 enabled him to begin working on his dream of becoming a teacher. Similarly, JAM was able to expand its existing operations to benefit more children.

The rebuilding of a country completely shattered by war would need capable leaders in all fields, more especially education. For this reason, Artur chose teaching and education as his future path. He remarked, “education was always important for me, and I knew that without education, we (Angolans) would never develop.” However, before he could become a teacher, he had to go back to school, attending classes in the evening and spend years working as a teaching assistant in order to fulfil his dream.

During his soldier years, Artur developed leadership skills whilst moving up the ranks from a lowly private to that of captain at the end of the war. With his acquired skills, determination and leadership he was geared towards making a success of his newly chosen profession.

After gaining the necessary qualifications, Artur became a qualified teacher and worked in the municipal district of Cubal, Benguela Province. After working in that area for a while, he was promoted to Headmaster at Escola Commandante Kussi II, where he has been headmaster for the past five years.

The school has doubled its enrolment figures in the past three years since JAM began supplying Corn Soya Blend (CSB) porridge to them. In 2010 the school’s enrolment figures stood at 350 students and by 2012, 773 students were enrolled at the school. According to Artur, JAM’s supplying of nutrient rich porridge and the drilling of a water well for the school has provided much needed incentives for the community to send their children to school, and most importantly to keep the children in the school. What he won’t tell you is that he is also a major contributor to the success of the school. Through his leadership and passion for his vocation many more children have been encouraged to attend school.

The continued growth of the school, aided by strong leadership and JAM’s nutritional assistance, has seen the community vote with its feet – thus enrolment figures continue to rise in this geographical area that is otherwise under severe strain. The crippling drought, which Angola has experienced for several years’, has led to fluctuating population demographics due to people searching for better grazing and faring land. Commandante Kussi II School and the community that it provides for has halted this behaviour and provides a stabilising influence for children and the community.

JAM’s support of schools in Angola can be viewed as providing a sustenance system to teachers and headmasters like Artur who – despite massive challenges in their lives – have managed to create new roles for themselves in this developing country. Angola is a country with unlimited potential, but to reach that potential the country needs support and a helping hand. At JAM we do this everyday, but to continue helping the people of Angola to reach their true potential we need your help. If you are able to make a difference in the lives of the people of Angola today, please contact us on email: info@jamint.com

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