A CHINESE mining firm has announced plans to build an ultra-modern multi-million Kwacha skills training school to carter for the underprivileged in society in honour of late Betty Kaunda, the wife of first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda.
Hwatai Mining Investments Corporation chairperson Ling Zao made this announcement when he signed documentation pertaining to the establishment of the school, which would serve children from poor households as well as academically gifted pupils, at the office of Dr Kaunda in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Ling, whose company has been operating in Zambia for the last three years, also announced the establishment of a foundation that would sponsor the education of the under-privileged and academically-gifted pupils at the school.
Mr Ling, who could not disclose the cost of the initiative, said the role that Mama Betty and Dr Kaunda played in building a firm foundation for strong relations between Zambia and China motivated him to build the school as a way of honouring the fallen freedom fighter.
He further said although his decision was part of his company’s community social responsibility, he also wanted to send a message that Zambia and China enjoyed good relations.
He said Dr Kaunda and Mama Betty were two of the most respected people in China and even though Mama Betty died, many Chinese knew that she had made a tremendous contribution in helping Dr Kaunda to take care of Zambia.
He said he was hopeful that the school would sustain Mama Betty’s love for Zambia.
Mr Ling appealed to the people of Zambia to remember Mama Betty for the contribution she made to the country she loved and said he was grateful that even in his 80s, Dr Kaunda was still helping to take care of Zambia.
Hwatai Mining Investments Corporation general manager Eric Shen said his company would provide building materials for the construction of the school from start to finish.
He said the company would also provide resources for establishing a foundation that would sponsor under-privileged pupils and support the school’s daily operations as well as facilitate introduction of exchange programmes between the school and Chinese schools.
Mr Shen said Mr Ling had decided to build Mama Betty Skills Training School because each time he travelled to Zambia, he always asked his staff in Zambia about how he could find time to help the local community in particular and Zambia in general.
He said Mr Ling came up with the idea to build the Mama Betty Skills Training School that would provide education which is the biggest motivation for the national development that Dr Kaunda and Mama Betty had sacrificed and worked hard for.
Hwatai Mining Investments Corporation is working with other Chinese companies, one of which is Minmetals Real Estate which was represented at the function by deputy general manager Yang Datong.
Speaking on behalf of Dr Kaunda, his daughter Cheswa Silwizya said her father who had travelled outside the country had expressed happiness that Hwatai Mining Investments Corporation had decided to donate the gift of a skills training school in memory of Mama Betty.