It is heartening to hear how well the students are doing despite all the difficulties they face. The school playing field is in very regular use for football games – formal and informal, with some of the local youth enjoying the facilities with the students. The girls join in the football as well as playing netball. The field has also been recently used for a school sports day.Deana, one of the Hands Around the World volunteers, is in Monze at the moment and has been assisting with some of the English classes. A retired Health Visitor from the UK Deana is working with health workers in the community around Monze, but has also found time to run some after-school activities at PIZZ. She has helped some of the children to develop their skills in sewing and has engaged them in various craft activities. She says that the children usually have little time to become involved in less academic activities at the school. So she has been able to provide a bit of extra stimulus. She also organised a visit from the hospital Peer Educators who teach the children about AIDS prevention, using sketches and involving them in plenty of dancing and drumming.Last year a fence was put around the school plot to deter the animals. Recently about 100 trees have been planted in the grounds to improve the environment.There are now five students sponsored through the Hands Around the World Child sponsorship scheme (£10 per month) who are now attending local secondary schools. More would attend if Mrs. Sianga had the funds. Could you or a friend maybe sponsor a child please?The school still faces major challenges daily, but knowing that they have supporters throughout the world gives them real hope, and the incentive to continue to work hard for their future.
When the news of the damaged roof was announced we received a very generous and rapid response. This enabled us to send out funds to replace the missing roofing sheets and repair the damage. As a result the students were able to continue with their studies and take their grade 8 and grade 9 examinations.
The results of the grade 8 examinations have been received and 12 of the 19 students passed. (3 were unable to sit) This is a good achievement and continues to show great progress. Undoubtedly the additional funding that has been received during the year has improved the chances for the children at the school. It has to be remembered that the students from the school come from very difficult backgrounds – most of them have been orphaned and some are also HIV+, and not always in the best of health. Without PIZZ school these children would have little chance of any formal education.
The school is eagerly awaiting the results of the grade 9 examinations. Last year two students moved on to local secondary schools and continue to receive funding through PIZZ school. The success of the school will inevitably lead to more students ready to move to secondary school, though continuing funding could be a problem.
It is hoped to bring a new classroom into use this year to allow students to retake a year. These students are those who through illness or other problems, didn't achieve high enough marks to pass their exams this year, but still have the potential if given another chance.
If you are able to help us to continue helping all these lovely but very seriously disadvantaged children, your donation will be most gratefully received!
I visited Monze this year between June and the end of August.
Progress has been made during the past year particularly thanks to support through GlobalGiving and other donations linked to past volunteers.
Books have been bought – particularly for grade 8 and 9 students. These books are expensive (on average £6 - £7 each) and the school had very few to share among all the students. The situation is now much better, though they are still far from having enough – especially for the earlier grades.
The examination results have been good, with some students last year qualifying to move to secondary school.Apparently this is a rare achievement for a Community school – two of these students are being sponsored and Mrs. Sianga is currently supplementing this income. Other students haven't the means to continue their education.
With the added books Mrs. Sianga is hoping for better results at the end of this year.
It has also been possible for the children to have some new balls and sports kit (shirts and shorts). This has increased the interest in the football and netball, and the school is doing well in the local leagues with some of the children joining other local teams.
The school grounds have now been fenced to prevent animals getting in. They hope to grow vegetables and plant some trees in the grounds during the coming months.
The school has an extra laptop – though there are still issues with both laptops they have, they have some internet access using a USB modem and hope to be able to use a webcam to connect to the UK.
Most of the teachers are awaiting government posts. In July the majority of these were suddenly offered positions leaving Mrs. Sianga and the headteachers a major problem to recruit more staff. Despite this they had almost a full complement when the school re-opened in September.
On a recent visit by the education officers Mrs. Sianga was told that they were very impressed by the teachingthat was being carried out. The main complaints were that there were insufficient toilets for the children and there was no space within the school for the children to have any recreation activities.
Last week there was a very strong wind in Monze which caused considerable damage to the school – the roof was lifted off and the rain destroyed many of the newly acquired books. With grade 9 examinations imminent this has happened at a particularly difficult time. The damage is estimated at about £1,500 without including the replacement of the books. (About £750 was spent last year to buy 120 books)
I talked to Mrs. Sianga about how she wanted to use the money recently received through Global Giving.
She would like to feed the children – about 1.8m Kwatcha (£240 or $387) for three months.
She needs a strong room so that they can use the school as an examination centre saving the costs and disruption of transporting children etc. to a different centre.
She also has school fees to pay for the children that succeeded in getting to secondary school 2.2m Kwatcha/year (£295 or $475).
It is clear how important it is to continue to build on the ongoing support.
Mrs. Sianga is in Lusaka at the moment, with her daughter and very new granddaughter, but due back in a few days. I will then get to work on some stories for you about how this project has made a difference to the children here.
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