We do have some unfortunate news before we give the positive progress updates. Unfortunately, one of the children died recently. Bowas was a young boy in grade 4 – about 11 years old. Zambia has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world and unfortunately childhood deaths are far too common. Our thoughts are very much with his family and friends who are trying to cope with this tragedy.
The school children have been busy in the school garden, planting tomatoes and other vegetables. It is currently the dry season so the plants need to be watered using buckets. The school has a borehole and hand pump which supplies good clean water.
Some of the school tables and benches used by the students have become damaged over the years. A programme has been started to repair them.
A trip to Livingstone is being planned for some of the children. At Livingstone there is the Victoria Falls, the Zambesi and a National Park where elephants, white rhinos, buffaloes and hippos can be seen, together with other animals and birds. This will be a very exciting trip for the children.
Examinations start in about two weeks and the necessary preparations are well under way.
I am about to leave for Zambia very soon – arriving on 11th July. I am looking forward to meeting Mrs. Sianga once again together with her students. I always find it inspiring to see how the children are progressing, to view the developments within the school and to discuss future plans. With your ongoing support the school is able to continue to ensure that children have the chance of better future. I am very fortunate to be able to see first hand how any funds are being spent and to understand better the issues that are faced.
I will be able to provide another report soon which should include some new photographs.
People have been very busy over the past few months with additional activities moving forward. There are currently 200 chickens being fattened ready for sale, as well as 250 chickens that are laying eggs. Milking has begun and 7 litres of fresh milk is being received each day.
As mentioned in the previous report, the rainy season this year turned out to be very poor, with the rains ending far too soon. Despite this the project will manage to produce some maize.
A chicken incubator has arrived from the UK and is now in Lusaka - this should make the rearing of chickens more effective.
The bee-keeping project is moving forward. The tailoring section successfully made 14 bee-keeping suits for a project in Monze which had asked for their assistance. They will produce their own suits when the project gets under way. Two beehives were made by the carpentry section earlier in the year as a trial exercise. It is intended that the carpentry students will be involved in making a variety of beehives for this new activity. The intention is to involve all sections of the project in this new activity.
A new submersible pump has been installed to supplement the wind pump. This has ensured that water is now more reliably available at the centre.
I will make a brief visit to Zambia from mid July to early August. I am very much looking forward to meeting Moses, Percis, the other people managing the project and the students. I will provide an additional report, hopefully with some photographs, to show what progress is being made.
Thank you for your continued support.
One piece of very good news is that, through GlobalGiving, we have been promised a donation that will enable us to complete a rain water harvesting scheme. At present all water has to be carried from a well about a quarter of a mile away. For some uses this may continue necessary but a water harvesting scheme will mean that there will be a plentiful supply of water on site. Two members of our team are making plans to go out to Uganda in January to work with local people to get this scheme up and running.
Our latest report from Siriba VTC came in early June. It is clear that there remains a problem in collecting the small student fees. Of the 82 students who began the academic year only 24 have been able to continue paying. The Principal of the VTC says that there are various reasons why the others have not been able to raise the funds chief among them being that most of them are orphans. This has been a problem that the VTC has faced since the beginning and a solution will need to be found if the VTC is going to become self-sustaining.
Another concern is that one of the original departments, Carpentry, is not attracting many students. The Principal tells us that he is in the process of doing some research in the local community to discover why this is as well as trying to discover what the priorities of the community are.
Earlier in the year Hands Around The World wrote to their Board of Governors to ask them to make plans to be more self-sufficient after the end of this academic year which ends in December. We realised that this would be quite a challenge for them but we felt that it was inappropriate for them to rely completely on external grants for all day to day expenditure. As yet we have not received any proposals from the Board of Governors indicating how they intend to work towards this but we have been informed that a meeting is soon to take place.