We are pleased that more volunteers from the UK have been able to visit our partner projects at the Disability Centre in Maua and Athi disability school recently – Hands Around the World recognises the importance of ongoing relationships, so that the support we can offer is led by our partner’s needs.
In August we had just started the process of seeking a sponsoring partner to enable the development of the Orthopaedic workshop and therapy room at the disability centre. We are delighted that we have now achieved three quarters of the funding needed, and are now only looking for the money to support the staff training element of the original proposal. Can you contribute towards the extra £5000 that is needed? We look forward to starting this initiative from next January.
We want, by our support, to help provide improved services to children with disabilities – whether they are living in their home communities or attending the disability school in Athi. As well as disability aids, the children need the opportunity to develop life skills which will support them in the future. We hope to promote income generating initiatives which will support the projects and give the children opportunities to learn new skills. How about sponsoring chickens, or a fish pool, so that the children can learn to care for the animals and earn an income too…..?
It’s good to see some good quality work being produced. There are many carpenters in Kisumu, though as the population continues to grow rapidly there is plenty of scope for more. Our plan at Paluoc workshop and trainingcentre is to produce really proficient carpenters; capable of careful, precise work that will mean they are sure of future employment.
Two of the trainees are bringing in a bed and some chairs that they have made and put outside the workshop whilst waiting for the varnish to dry.
Notice in the background the good use being made of the barbed wire fence. The fence is really there to keep the neighbours’ goats out of the small vegetable patch that the night-watchman’s wife is cultivating, and a small mango tree which we hope will eventually bear fruit for the trainees’ lunches.
Storage of completed work is an issue and training and working areas are also needed, plus a small office to store progress reports, training materials, invoices etc. So the workshop is being given an upper floor. The pile of sand shows the scale of the task. The work has started and is planned to be completed well before the rainy season starts. Three HATW volunteers are visiting this month to help with the work and to report back on progress. They are also looking at ways to recruit and retain more trainees when the extra space is available.
Another important issue is the safety of tools. At Paluoc this problem has been resolved with a very solid storage room, with heavy duty locks should any potential thieves penetrate the metal doors and window frames. In an ideal world that wouldn’t be necessary but the tools of their trade are very valuable and have to be protected. The photoshows some of the individual toolboxes that the trainees make to hold their tools. Our aim is to provide each trainee with a basic set of tools once they know how to look after them.
Thank you for your support and interest!
Supporting orphan children and young people from remote villages of Benin, West Africa, enabling them to continue in education.
Throughout the twelve years of involvement of Hands Around The World in this community, in the region of the Oueme Plateau, every effort has been made to incorporate the principles of self-sufficiency and sustainability in all supported activities. Volunteers from the UK continue to ‘give-a-hand’ with developments which are considered essential by the African team members.
The project to replace three classrooms in the village of Dogba which had been lost in floods was successfully completed this year and following the official opening the classrooms are now fully in use.
To enable youngsters to progress to distant Secondary Schools more than 100 cycles have been allocated within this region.
It is pleasing to report that currently the team enables 88 orphaned young people to attend schools in five villages. 41 of those are girls who traditionally would have been expected to remain at home or to be working in the fields. They are all expected to pay the parental contribution – around $30 - and the charges for uniform and school equipment. This is one example of the tangible way in which your generous donations help.
There are now 16 apprentices, some of whom make the uniforms and learn to repair cycles. Hairdressing and building skills are the most popular training programmes. Charges vary but an average sum of $350 for each orphan covers the apprenticeship training period - mostly 3 or 4 years - and $200 is needed for accreditation and the administration of the Diploma.
12 young orphans - 10 males and 2 females - are currently attending University in the cities of Cotonou and Porto Novo and so residential fees, course attendance expenses and transport costs have to be found. Around $1000 covers the total cost for a student to graduate. Entry is open to a potential student who gains the Baccalaureate and who can pay the fees, there is no other barrier to admission. Many thanks in advance if you think you can help towards meeting this expense.
Next major project:
Having discovered that there are increasing numbers of homeless children in both the cities and in our rural region we have been requested to support the development of a residential rescue and training centre in Affame.
Land, near the village playing field has been purchased, a three-year building project has been approved and a group of volunteers is due to visit next February after the local team has established the building foundations. Sponsorship of a volunteer might be an attractive alternative to a personal visit?
The centre will be named ‘Adjidole’, a Fon word meaning ‘Children,- our future’. The plan will be to include an internet facility at the centre consistent with communications development in Benin so inevitably costs will rise! All financial assistance will be well received.
Later, the training facility will be built near to both the secondary school and with access to trading routes. It is thought most likely that there will be training in Red Oil production (the local equivalent of Olive Oil made from Palm Nuts); Tailoring/Hairdressing; Carpentry and Motor Vehicle Maintenance. Subsequently services will be charged and products sold to defray costs of Adjidole.
Having received the generous gift of a tractor in 2012 and new tyres earlier this year, members of the African team have an excellent facility which enables them to assist with community agricultural development as well as building-site preparation and transport of building materials.
Pump-priming local community initiatives has been shown to be effective in this region especially when followed by volunteer visits.
It is always good to hear from prospective volunteers! Please ring 01600 740317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks indeed to all who have contributed to the Benin projects so far.