Reports from Siriba indicate that the new academic year which started in January has begun well. An encouraging number of students have been enrolled in four practical disciplines: Carpentry, Tailoring, Building and Bricklaying, and Motor vehicle repair and driving. The latter two courses seem to be the most popular with the more traditional carpentry course being undersubscribed.
During 2012 we encouraged the project’s Board of Governors to have a proper financial audit done. This has now been completed by a firm from Kampala. It is encouraging to see in their report that the overall financial management of the project is sound and that progress has been made in getting the courses properly registered with the Ugandan authorities.
The audit also refers to some points for improvement. The first is that there is a problem with student retention. It seems that a number of young people begin courses but fail to complete them. The other main problem is financial.
Although some progress has been made in collecting student fees the project is almost entirely dependent on grants from Hands Around The World. We have written to the Board of Governors to say that a substantial effort now needs to be made towards self-funding. If the project is to have a long term future this will be essential. We are hoping that with the project being registered with the Ugandan authorities some government money for tutors’ pay will be forthcoming which, in addition to student fees, would meet running expenses.
For the rest of this year we will still give grants to the project in order that they will have time to move towards this more sustainable future. The project will always need financial help with capital expenditure in the form of grants for such things as new buildings and equipment, but running costs need to be raised locally.
Your help and support is, as ever, much appreciated. Thank you!
A container organised by HHI (Health Help International – a charity base in Newport and working in Zambia) is about to leave for Zambia. They have agreed to take some equipment for Hands Around the World, including additional tools and sewing machines for Kaliyangile. These will help to provide the extra training needed to meet the Teveta syllabus.
In February two bull calves were born on the farm and we are now looking forward to the milk which will help the students diet and, if there is any excess, will provide extra income for the centre. Milking will also be a useful addition to the skills learnt at the centre. Eventually the bulls will be put to work on the farm.
There has also been a promise of a pregnant pig to get the piggery project under way. A pigsty will be erected to house the new additions.
The Tailoring students are progressing well are about to take their end of term tests we are hopeful that all these students will eventually complete the Teveta course and leave with officially recognised qualifications.
The rains this year have presented challenges. Early in the season flooding was a problem – this affected the beans grown at Kaliyangile resulting in a very small crop. The rain stopped too soon making it difficult to bring the maize to maturity. However despite the problems they expect to get a reasonable crop for the project. Lack of water has also hit the tomato crop. Unusual patterns of weather over recent years are presenting great problems in Zambia where the economy is very reliant on the maize crop. It will be important to teach the students how to grow food which will be more tolerant of the new conditions that are being experienced.
The centre is dedicated to teaching skills that will enable the students to become self sufficient and move away from the poverty that most experience.
With your help we are changing the lives of these young people. Thank you.
Celebrations are an important part of life in Zambia, as they are throughout the world. This year, thanks to a small donation from one of the HANDS AROUND THE WORLD sponsors, the school was able to enjoy a special party to mark World Youth Day. 240 of the students attended this event which was marked with lots of singing, dancing, drumming and reciting poetry.
Most of the children have lost one or more parents - largely as a result of AIDS - and the children use these occasions to express some of the difficulties in their lives, as well as giving thanks for the opportunities given them through the education they receive at the school. At the end of the day the children enjoyed a good meal.
The rainy season has now finished – a bit too early in fact. Combined with flooding early in the year, this could mean a poor harvest and food shortages later in the year – these conditions have particularly affected the Southern Province, in which PIZZ school is situated.. At the school they have been able to grow good crops of okra and tomatoes, but the sweet potatoes and maize crops have failed due to lack of rain.
In addition to the academic studies at the school, Mrs. Sianga is keen to try to address some of the problems that her students encounter. This pastoral care for the students is a very important part of the ethos of the school, and it is important for the development of the students. Fortunately the school has a number of care workers who help, mainly on a voluntary basis.
The school has excellent staff who work hard, with limited resources, to give the students a chance in life. Many of these struggle on very low wages which are barely enough to provide food and accommodation. (PIZZ receives no funding from the government). The school would collapse without their dedication.
Most importantly the students are very well motivate and are thriving - those who have moved into secondary school are doing very well. Education is for many the key to escaping their lives of poverty, with your help someare beginning to achieve that dream.