The new term has started. This year has seen plenty of activity during the holidays. Four volunteers travelled to Monze to help facilitate a holiday club during August. By all accounts this was a great success. The children had fun making masks, drawing and painting, playing new musical instruments and enjoying sports. The volunteers too had a wonderful time including a memorable trip to Livingstone with 64 students, where they saw the Victoria Falls and visited an animal park.
Mawini, who was one of the first students to study at PIZZ School has been accepted at Lusaka University where she will study to become a doctor. This is a great tribute to the standard of education at the school and evidence of the life changing opportunities offered. We are looking for additional funds to ensure that all students leaving the school with the appropriate qualifications are supported through secondary and tertiary education, or technical training.
In late August, we were able to obtain room on a container heading for Monze. This enabled us to send out some bikes for the care givers and extra clothes and books for the children and their families. This consignment should arrive before Christmas.
The school now has a strong room in which to keep the examination papers but, in order to obtain registration as an examination centre, they need to buy books relating to the new syllabus. We are therefore particularly seeking funds for these books.
Our thoughts go out to the 215 students starting their new year at PIZZ school and particularly those in grade 1 who are starting on a new adventure which, with your help, will transform their lives.
Thank you so much for your ongoing interest and help!
The new academic year is just starting and there is a lot of interest from young people wanting to study at the Centre. New staff have been engaged to undertake the training in carpentry and tailoring. The Department of Forestry has been impressed with the bee-keeping programme and has offered to provide training in bee-keeping. Seeing all the activity taking place around the centre, the students are keen to gain extra knowledge about agriculture and bee-keeping in addition to the more formal carpentry and tailoring courses.
The project has been busy during the year. Despite poor rains 30 x 50Kg bags of maize were produced - most of this is being used as part of the feed for the chickens. Tomatoes, okra, impwa, chibwabwa, rape and cabbages are also being grown and sold from the vegetable garden. The chickens are doing well - producing eggs (about 250 a day) for the local community. The Guinea fowl will also start delivering eggs very soon. The dairy cattle are thriving thanks to the new irrigation system generating luscious grass in the paddock. The piggery is also in operaton and is expected to make a significant contribution to the income for the project, as well as providing another opportunity for the students to learn.
The chance to learn agricultural skills helps the students to be better equipped to sustain themselves and their families and is a valuable addition to their technical skills. Wth your help the students will leave Kaliyangile equipped to provide a sustainable future for themselves and their families.
Things are now progressing quite well at the workshop. There are currently 8 full-time trainees and the trustees are continuing to seek more in the longer term. They have had success with their examination entries and attendance has improved.
The extra floor that has been added to the workshop will enable work to be carried out literally on two levels. Closely supervised will be the newish trainees on the ground floor. They will be looking to master basic skills. On the upper floor will be the trainees who have already successfully completed level 3 Government exams in Carpentry and Joinery. The more experienced trainees will also, on occasions, help with the training of the inexperienced ones downstairs.
We would not expect trainees to produce much in the way of real, paid for work during their training but we are hoping to do just that at Paluoc. The trainees have always been able to carry out very basic tasks like sanding wood by hand but this is a very slow, arduous and not very productive occupation, though sometimes necessary. We are trying to introduce more in the way of power tools to increase skill levels, job satisfaction and productivity.
The workshop has been able, through financial assistance via Global Giving, and from Hands Around The World and others, to purchase some electric drills and routers. This adds kudos to the tasks to be undertaken and helps bring these unskilled trainees into the 21st century. It greatly increases the range of tasks that they can learn to undertake. However the most important issue is their understanding of the absolute necessity of using the tools properly and above all safely. This is one of the current priorities for the workshop.
There is quite a lot of competition for carpentry products both from other local carpenters and from Chinese mass produced imports. Paluoc is managing to obtain some real work tasks, eg making desks, repairing lockers etc for schools but the flow of such work is intermittent. On the one hand this means that the workshop can concentrate on its primary purpose; getting these trainees to develop their basic skills, but it is also a loss of potential income for the workshop and for the trainees. A small financial incentive is useful for these trainees who all come from very needy backgrounds. It’s also good for their self-esteem and in some cases helps to feed their wider family.
I have been looking with Paul Ochieng, our Centre Manager and chief instructor, at the possibility of a little diversification of their product range.
We are looking at the possibility of producing chairs inspired by local Luo design but aimed at tourists and locally wealthy parents and grandparents. The painted ones are the finished article and would have to be sold locally. The unpainted ones can be flat packed and fit into a tourist’s suitcase. I am going to visit Paluoc in January next year to explore this and any other ideas that Paul may come up with in the meantime. I have sent Paul my drawings for the chairs to ask him to assess how easily they can be made by the trainees, and then whether they could be sold at the local tourist market, or elsewhere.
To help finance itself and to continue to move on and learn new skills such projects are essential for Paluoc.
Thank you very much for your interest and continuing support!