After a slow start to the rainy season the rains have been better than last year - promising a reasonable harvest. Some maize and beans are well on their way at Kaliyangile. These crops will be primarily used to feed the students and the livestock.
An introductory course in bee-keeping was given in December and, when the rains stop next month, the bee-hives will be sited around the Centre and the real work will begin.
The tailoring students are proving themselves competent and are starting to earn some money. They are currently using the equipment at the Centre to establish themselves – some have now been able to buy their own sewing machines and begin to start their own businesses.
On the poultry side, the new layers are now becoming productive, laying about 250 eggs a day. There is a great demand for eggs in Chisamba with a steady stream of customers visiting the centre daily.
The piggery is ready to receive a pregnant sow. This will mark the start of this new enterprise.
I hear also that the fish have grown well in the small reservoir on site and will soon be ready for market.
In recent months calves have been born and the milk production will be increased.
I will be visiting Zambia next month and will spend some time at Kaliyangile working with the local management to see how we can further improve the opportunities for the local teenagers. By introducing them to a range of skills we hope to enable them to provide for themselves and their families.
Thank you for your support!
I have recently returned from Sarberia, West Bengal, my fourth visit to this inspiring school. When I first visited in 2008 on a building project I took this photo of one of the students in the school.
The new building in the background was the reason I was there, the Vocational Training Centre which doubles as classrooms during the school day. This girl’s thoughtful look as all around her seem distracted captured my attention.
The school has grown from 100 students in 2008 to over 300 now. The area is extremely poor and most of the parents cannot afford the small school fee, so Alindra Naskar the Principal, is always looking for ways to subsidise the school, a constant struggle.
When I was there last month I asked about this student and she posed for the photo below.
Six years on and a new building, a day boarding centre for girls, which will serve her well, and more classrooms, which are vitally needed.
This girl is one of the lucky ones, she has stayed on at the school despite lack of funds, local mistrust of why girls need to be educated, and fear for her safety as she goes to and fro from school.
All of these things we take for granted in our country; education for these children is essential if they are ever to escape the poverty trap, and yet at the same time fraught with difficulties.
Here she is in 2014, older, smarter and ever hopeful that these new buildings will enable her to reach her potential in life; the right of any child surely?
Dr Mary Kelly is volunteering currently as an ophthalmologist with HANDS AROUND THE WORLD in Benin, West Africa (looking mainly for children with eye infections needing treatment, and children who need cataract surgery).
She has gone out with 4 others who are helping build and develop, in Affame village, an accommodation unit for orphaned children some of whom also have disabilities.
We have just received a report from Mary about her work so far, after her first 2 weeks.
She has already seen lots of people in the clinic! Many need glasses; 4 need cataract surgery soon; several need treatment for corneal ulcers, a growth called pterygium, etc.; many need antibiotic drops or tablets.
Last week Mary also did a session in the local secondary school where 26 children who said they could not see the blackboard were tested – only 4 would benefit from glasses, others mostly needing antibiotics and follow up. One youth aged 20 needs cataract surgery. (More visits are planned.)
We are now targeting support for her work through a Global Giving appeal which offers valuable 50% matched funding on donations made between Mondays 3 and 10 March. Cost of treatment is a major barrier to local people - cataract surgery (for example) costs £100!
Please help if you can. Thank you so much.