A BASINGSTOKE couple have spoken about the experience of sponsoring a child in Africa.

Maxine Stevens and her husband Paul have sponsored a young man in Livingstone, Zambia since he was a child in the Tongabezi Trust School.

Paul Kamwi, who has just turned 23, has received support and help from Maxine and Paul while being educated through the Tongabezi Trust School, which was set up in 1996 with just 15 preschool students to educate the local children, which has grow n in size to 275 children aged between 3-15.

School director at the Tongabezi Trust School, Vanessa Parker, said: “It would not be possible to for pupils like Paul to have this chance without the support of wonderful people like Maxine. Without our sponsors, we would not be able to run the school as we have no financial support from the government.”

He is now entering the final year of his teaching degree, which means that he will be able to help others in his area.

He hopes to become an English and Religious Education teacher after completing his course.

Maxine said: “It is so encouraging to see him succeed, it’ s a wonderful thing to know that he is doing well. We speak through Facebook every day, and he has become a very close friend of our family.”

Paul also has talents in making art, where he uses seeds of various colours to make pictures, one of which he has sent to the Stevens.

Maxine continued: “It takes him about 80 hours to make one, and he sent me one of elephants for my birthday.”

Paul said: “Maxine has become a mother figure to me. I really enjoy speaking to her every day and I am really glad of all her support.

“I want to say a big thank you to the school as well, as they have really helped me over the past years as well. They inspired me to become a teacher, I love sharing knowledge with young people.”

For more information about sponsoring someone,  you can visit: tujatane.com.