ASAP is developing this project to be similar to ‘Tools For Self Reliance’ in the UK. The difference would be that ASAP’s tools would go to Central America and the Caribbean where their tools go to Africa. They found it impractical to ship to this area from England and thought a new project set up from the US would make more sense.
The one thing that needs to be made clear is that this is not Save the Tools. Yes, tools will be refurbished but they will be the means to the end. In fact, some tools will be brand new. But the reason for the project is to give people a chance to change their lives. A person with skills requires the tools to make use of those skills. These tools will enable an already skilled artisan to use his or her skills to support a family. One goes from unemployed to self-employed.
The third term of school begins shortly In Zimbabwe, the days are starting to get a little warmer after the short winter season and the August winds begin to blow. This is the term when crops are planted but not usually until October. Students return to class, including the girls that are funded by ASAP and your generous donations. They all know that there will be work in the fields later in the year; first preparing to plant and then actual planting crops.
But first it’s time to work hard studying and learning in class. This third term is important because of the end of year exams that come around to decide who goes on to the next grade. There are also the big exams for the fourth year students to decide who will qualify for grade 5 and 6, which are required to qualify for university. So this is a much more serious term and involves a lot of hard work on the their part.
At the end of this year, the girls are selected that will be funded for the next year. Girls are chosen that are serious about their classes and do not have the ability to pay the whole amount of the school fees. Besides the learning aspects of school, these girls also enjoy the comradeship of their fellow students and the improved safety of the school environment where there is a much lower chance of getting pregnant or contracting HIV.
Thank you for donating what you can for this cause. The amount you give may not be a big deal for you. But to help a young girl serious about learning, with her school fees, is a really big deal to her!
Students Sing About The Stigma Associated With HIV and AIDSThe AIDS epidemic is alarmingly present in Malawi. According to UNAIDS, 11% of adults aged 15-49 suffered from HIV/AIDS in 2009, but only 42% of youth had accurate knowledge about the disease. The discrimination that still surrounds the disease in Malawi can partly be attributed to this lack of information and awareness.Most children at BeeHive School, aged 4 to 13, have been affected by HIV/AIDS in some way. The school not only teaches the boys and girls about the health and safety aspects of the disease, but also about its many complicated stigmas. The standard 6 and 7 students studied HIV/AIDS as one of their social studies topics and were also assigned to write plays and songs that explored the disease.The song they chose to perform and record, “People Dying Day by Day Because of HIV and AIDS” tells the story of people diagnosed with AIDS-- how their friends push them away, they get fired from their jobs, become suspended from school, lose their friends, and die from the disease. The entire creative process, from brainstorming, to writing lyrics and performing the songs, was not only educational but empowering for the BeeHive students.You can watch their performance here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQoQuZi59GQBeeHive School CelebratesThe school has finally received the official registration certificate from the Malawian Ministry of Education. It is valid for 3 years and is framed proudly in the school’s temporary office.The certificate arrived just in time for the 2nd anniversary at the new site. The teachers worked very hard to put on a huge celebration with the whole school and parents. Everyone enjoyed a bounce house, face and henna painting, ‘wet the teacher’ (50 kwacha for three wet sponges! Great fun (but cold!)), pin the tail on the zebra, parachute games, class performances, a talent show and a fashion parade, plus barbecue and drinks for sale. Each class had a class party at lunch. The hard work paid off - it was an amazing day, the kids LOVED it. Even though the school has been in the new site for two years, the construction is still in progress. It is progressing slowly and steadily, with the admin block almost complete. The new building is looking amazing – everyone who sees it is impressed by the design and the size and light. The window and door frames are in, the plumbing in the staff room and staff toilets are done, and the conduit has been run for the electricity. The plastering is in progress, followed by the finishing on the window and door frames, and putting in the floor. After that, the doors and windows will need to be bought and installed, and it will be done!The hope is to have the building complete by September, money permitting. The cost of cement has risen dramatically due to the devaluation of the kwacha, so the floor is going to be expensive. The school is extremely grateful for the generous donation of cement from the Malawian company SR Nicholas. The company has 3 families at the school and have very kindly donated 50 bags of cement so far! This could not have come at a better time – cement is MK 4300 a bag now (about $17) – with the devaluation EVERYTHING has gone up.Thank you for your continued support and generosity, especially during this hard economic time. The students are excited to be at school and are growing, learning, and blossoming every day. The whole school is looking forward to Sports Day coming up on July 5th - we are hoping it will be dry and not too cold like last year!