Since this project began back in 2010, one of the main objectives of the charity is to have English teachers visit Muko School. We did manage to get two in 2011, and one this year in February. If all goes to plan, this coming November will be our most successful to date, as we are intending to take a team of five volunteers, four of whom are trained teachers including one with TEFL qualifications. These four will be working under the guidance of the school head teacher, and dean of studies; they will spend four weeks teaching the resident teachers of the school during their holiday period.
The fifth member of the group will once again (with the help of local labourers) continue with the maintenance program that is now firmly in place, the continuation of the perimeter wall having priority, Also the installation of the fresh water tanks that have previously been purchased with money donated to the charity. And there is still a lot of work to be done on the long-drop toilets. General painting, mending broken windows and doors will continue too.
All this and the general maintenance of this school in what still is a very under privileged area, still needs to be financed. Although the volunteers pay their own expenses, there is still the cost of the very enthusiastic local labour, and materials to be paid for.
If you have already donated to this project, I thank you! But more finance is always needed to allow us to continue to support this school... Please help us if you can!
The New Life Centre School is ten years old this year and in that time has grown from 35 children to 450. The children in this district of West Bengal are exceptionally lucky to have Alindra Naskar, the Principal of the school living in their community, as this means that they can have a good education.
"Education is the birthright of every child" Alindra says. He never turns a child away, no matter how little the parents can pay. This area is beautiful as you can see, for its simplicity and rural life, but the other side of that is low employment and very low wages for menial work. As the parents of the school are on the whole uneducated their income is poor, but this does not mean that they undervalue education for their children, as shown by the school roll.
The main areas of employment are fisheries and brick factories, but the majority of the parents of the school live from hand to mouth, working in local shops and fields for very little pay.
For that reason the Sponsorship scheme in the school is vital to supplement the fees that are collected. Every parent makes some contribution, no matter how small, as people do not appreciate what is free according to Alindra; but it is essential that the next generation is given a chance, an opportunity to rise above the subsistence level of their parents.
I am giving you the opportunity today to raise these children’s expectations.
I write this update from Zambia having just visited the project at Chisamba.
In addition to their tailoring classes the students are busy with other activities.
They are all involved in the agricultural side of the project gaining useful life skills. At this time the maize is being harvested – as predicted the centre has beaten the poor rains and gathered more produce than last year. Arrangements are being made to collect the piles of maize from the fields and bring them to the centre, where the seeds will be removed from the cobs. It is hoped that, if funding can be found, a grinding machine can be bought to continue the process of producing the flour. Such a machine will also provide a further source of income for the project.
The first honey is now due for harvesting and the students are keen to be involved in the practical work of turning the honeycomb into jars of honey and beeswax candles. The forestry commission is keen to join forces with Kaliyangile to provide comprehensive training.
Two or three of the cows are 'in calf' and it is expected that milking will recommence in October or November.
An additional area has been set aside to grow vegetables and a heavy crop of tomatoes will be ripe very shortly.
Together with the pigs, fish and poultry there is a wide range of agricultural experiences for the students to encounter.
The computer classes are very popular. The main challenge at the moment is acquiring some more equipment.
We are very grateful for your ongoing support and encouragement!