A small team of just two volunteers has just returned from Muko School; this trip proved to be the most productive and satisfying to date. For this, thanks has to go to all the local enthusiastic workers able to offer their help this time!
The new school's committee has, as a priority, identified the need to build a security wall around the perimeter of the grounds to prevent entry by children and others out of hours, therefore preventing damage to classrooms and grounds. Hopefully this will reduce the cost of maintenance in the future. This work is being partly funded by the children’s parents and partly by local government. Hands Around The World was able to finance 110 metres of this wall on this occasion, but there is still a long way to go, to completion.
The long drop toilets are still in a very poor state and numbers are woefully inadequate for the 2800 children attending this school. Fresh water for hand washing is also in short supply - most of the daily rainfall still goes to waste - and although there are some water tanks in place, there are insufficient funds for all the necessary pipes and gutters.
Teaching English has always been high priority, and in February 2015 it is planned to see the return of a TEFL teacher from the UK. It is hoped that this visit may encourage others to follow in the near future.
All this, and the general maintenance of this school (which is in a very under privileged area) still needs to be financed; and although our overseas volunteers pay their own expenses, the cost of local labour and materials must be met.
If you have already donated to this project, I thank you. If you can, please continue to help us to make a real difference in supporting the lovely children and their school.
In addition to training in tailoring and carpentry the students are now receiving some tuition in the use of computers and agriculture. Training in bee-keeping is due to start in January.
The piggery is now in operation adding a further opportunity for the students to gain knowledge of farming.
The centre is still very busy maintaining poultry, fish and cattle as well as growing maize and beans during the rainy season and tomatoes, rape, okra and other vegetables all year around.
The incubator provided last year has enabled nearly 500 pullets to be reared – these will take over the egg production when the current hens are sold for food. The incubator has also allowed guinea fowl and quail to be reared.
All this provides a rich experience for the students and a chance to understand how they can help provide for their families by keeping a few animals or growing their own food.
In due course the piggery will help the centre towards self-sufficiency. In the meantime there are challenges to keep the pigs well fed so they grow fat for market.
Kaliyangile continues to face challenges, but, with your help, it is very busy doing all it can to improve the lives of disadvantaged teenagers in Chisamba, Zambia.
Please continue with your support so that more can be given skills that will allow them to provide for their families.
I have just returned from visiting the Paluoc workshop in Kisumu. I am most impressed by the appearance of the building now… The outside has been painted once and Paul the manager wants another coat of paint put on it. The stair-well has been completed and there is under construction a small building to the left of the front doors, to house the planer.
The trees planted in 2013 by Wendy, Jonathan and myself are all doing well, as is Nigel's frangipani, but alas, Gill's mango seems to have been eaten by goats and not yet replaced!
Bonaventure and Evans passed the grade III trade exam in the spring, and are now working ‘upstairs’ furniture making, under supervision of Paul and Gabriel, (a carpenter friend of Paul's who has had an accident to his foot, and as Paul says, needed to do something, rather than just sit at home). He is also supervising the upstairs boys, unpaid. The boys upstairs will get paid some of the chair money. At the moment, all the boys at the workshop get a basic lunch of beans and a chapatti, which costs 50 K sh each. (NB 140 K sh = £1) From January, Bonaventure and Evans will have to pay for their own lunches, as they are earning a little, in a move towards independence.
After Christmas, the ‘upstairs’ boys will be asked to tender for making and fitting two doors for the upstairs rooms. They will get paid for making these, with deductions if the work is not good enough! Bonaventure is making eight mahogany dining chairs, which will sell for around 6,000 K sh each. The padded seats will be made and fitted elsewhere.
Four students have this month taken the Grade III trade exams in carpentry: Jared, Stephen, Kennedy, and David.
The booking fee for each student is 2,500 K sh, plus 900 K sh. per student for a 'centre' fee and cost of materials. They also have to provide a photo of themselves. The pass mark is 60%.
David didn't answer any of the theory questions; he didn't get past form 4 in primary school, so it may be that his reading skills are poor. His spoken English is very poor. Paul is fairly confident, though, that David will pass the exam.
Kennedy is probably the most committed and very disciplined of the students. He finished primary school, but didn't start secondary. He walks 5 miles to the workshop every morning, and is always punctual.
Stephen only did two years in primary school; his father was unknown and his mother has died, so he is an orphan. He couldn't find anywhere to stay once his mother died, until a woman offered him a place, and she turned out to be a prostitute! But he had the good sense to talk to Paul about it, and Paul has arranged for Stephen to lodge with Emily and Nelson; Paul pays them a little. The quality of his work is good.
The ‘downstairs’ boys are now working on making 80 primary school desks to be delivered before Christmas. I suggested that they urgently need ear defenders and some sort of face guard (not goggles – they get too sweaty).
At the moment, the planer has been used to plane a lot of wood the boys are about to turn into 80 school desks for a primary school order, which will bring in a little income to the workshop and the boys. Paul also sells wood shavings at 20 K sh per sack to chicken keepers.
It is now necessary for the workshop to have fire extinguishers. For the size of the building, they have to have five, at a cost of 9,000 K sh each.
In January, Paul has four or five new students lined up: Joseph, Peter, Dominic, and Jackline plus her baby! (Paul has provided a cot in the workshop for the baby!)
Paul has arranged for the Nyamasaria chief to come to visit the workshop so he can recommend it to new boys. There are plans (when the planer house is compete) for the walls to be painted a second coat outside and another image painted as free advertising. Paul is shortly taking all the students to a free ‘training day’ at Crown Paints, re varnishes and how best to use them.
When it comes to more items the workshop needs, the fire extinguishers (9,000 K sh each) will be a large purchase. They also need more overalls... I have suggested that maybe Lilian could make these as she is very near and her work is excellent. And another power drill would be useful. On my last day, Paul told me they need new/more bits for the router. I also think that some of the boys would benefit, if possible, from some extra lessons in basic arithmetic and English.
My overall impression is that the workshop is all coming together nicely; work is coming in, the boys are earning a little, as is Paul, who is doing a great job. It seems to be progressing to becoming self financing before too long.