The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.
There seems to be no lack of ambition in the Kayangile project, and they do have everything planned out, just needing that initial fund to get the ball rolling.
There are numerous plans for the project especially in the agricultural section. Though they are currently only growing a few crops, rearing chicken and cattle, there are plans in the works for a fish pond to teach students how to care for and rear fish. The area had already been dug out, but when I went there, it was serving as a holding for calves. Nearby, there were trenches dug for the piggery that they were planning to build and in a nearby field they were beginning to plant orange trees. I was told that these orange trees were going to supplement a beekeeping project that they had planned, as honey tastes best when produced from the nectar of citrus fruits. The tailoring classes were also churning out beekeeping suits in preparation for this.
During my visit, I was given the honour of planting an orange tree, starting by digging the hole, planting the sapling, and finally watering the plant. I made sure to remember where exactly I had planted the tree for future reference or it would be difficult to point it out from the forty that they were planning to plant. It was a lot of good fun, and I hope to one day come back to the project to see how my tree is doing. If all goes to plan, by then, there should be a grove of orange trees sheltering a number of bee hives being maintained and cared for by the new beekeeping students.
It was a delight to be able to spend some time at PIZZ School last month. I was impressed by the lively children I met and the dedication of the staff.
I had a chance to talk to the teachers and to a number of the students. I have been visiting for many years now so many of the students recognise me and I am getting to know a few familiar faces. It was coming to the end of their winter and the weather was quite varied. There were long periods when I experienced cloudless skies and then a few windy and overcast days would follow. Despite being winter, the temperature rarely failed to reach 20°C during the day – though at night it sometimes fell below 10°C – which is cold if you have no heating (and possibly no blanket).
The children are working hard on the garden watering and planting crops. The tomatoes have done well and some were sold to provide extra funds – the children who helped were treated to some sweet potatoes. While I was in Zambia another 1,500 tomato plants were transplanted. The income will buy pens and notebooks for the students that cannot afford to buy them. The garden is also important in teaching important life skills to the students. In Zambia most poor families need to supplement any small income they might get by growing their own food.
Along with Kai – our visitor from Global Giving – I was treated to a selection of sketches, songs and poems from the students. I was impressed by how confidently the children performed. This demonstrated just how far these children had progressed.
The school started as a single classroom. Now some of the children have left PIZZ school and are about to graduate from local Secondary Schools. It was a common cry from the children that we should try to find them funds to complete their studies – even after leaving PIZZ school. Fortunately Mrs. Sianga has managed to pay the Secondary School fees for some of the children, with help from Hands Around the World and your donations. One student who expects to do very well in her exams wants to become a doctor – we will try to help her to go to medical school. I was also delighted to hear of another student who has taken a different route and is making a living as a professional musician.
It is clear that lives are being changed through this project and with your help we will continue to improve the lives of the children of Monze.
Thank you for your help.
Two ‘Hands Around the World’ volunteers are currently based with the disability centre in the town of Maua and are spending time with our partner school at Athi and the disabled children. There is plenty of work to be done in supporting the work of the disability project, and the volunteers are also spending time with the women from the self-help project; this project aims to encourage women from poor backgrounds, with a disability themselves or a disabled relative, to save and invest in small local initiatives with the support of an Area Community Facilitator. In this way, mothers are able to develop small income generating projects and this helps to support the family and pay for children’s school costs.
One of the things the volunteers have already achieved is to create a short Kenyan Sign Language booklet. Local staff had identified a serious problem with of lack of communication between deaf children and the project staff,their parents and in their communities. This beginner’s guide can be circulated to help get people talking! For each word there is the Swahili, English, a symbol for those who can't read, as well as the sign.
HATW continues to support disabled members of the community, and is actively seeking a sponsoring partner to facilitate the development of an Orthopaedic workshop and to provide basic equipment for a therapy room. The core aim of this project is to enhance capacity and improve services to disabled children in the surrounding community – including those at Athi school - and to support ongoing therapy for those children.
The aim is to provide training for existing staff, and the opportunity for a new technician apprentice to be trained. Currently, the workshop is able to execute repairs and adaptations to existing mobility aids. Working with disabled children, there is a constant demand for new wheelchairs and aids as the children grow – these can be prohibitively expensive and continuing use of the inappropriate or out grown mobility supports can actually cause further harm. Developing the local provision would enable the correct ongoing support to disabled children as they grow, giving them the best potential for the future.
The centre already provides assessments of individual needs through outreach visits and family discussions, but lacks the resource to offer the range of solutions which may be life-changing.
Our commitment through HATW continues, and with access to adequate funding we hope to send a volunteer to support the workshop development and local outreach on a longer term placement.
Will you help us to achieve the funding necessary to jump-start the workshop development?
With the required initial investment, our local partners aim to use the workshop facility to provide some ongoing income as they are commissioned to provide equipment for children at local hospitals and clinics. In this way, they intend to finance ongoing community initiatives for the disabled.