A tailoring production unit is being set up to help students make the transition between training and setting up a business. Five former students will work at the centre making products for sale - the profits will be shared between the Centre and the students, providing an extra income for both.
Seven piglets have been born in the past three months – in the short term this presents a challenge with the extra mouths to feed. In the longer term they will help the income generation of the project.
Electricity shortages continue to create big challenges both within the centre and outside where suppliers are struggling.
Maintaining the financial viability of the project without regular external funding is difficult, but careful management of resources is keeping the centre moving forward.
Training in computing continues and is very popular, but additional computers are needed before this activity can be further developed.
These have been stressful times in Zambia as the general and presidential election in August has had unexpected effects, such as bank closures, strikes, media shutdowns and general confusion. Fortunately the violence has been limited and localised and although many are unhappy with the results, the country seems now to be calming down again. Zambia historically has been a very friendly, calm and tolerant place and we hope that will hold true in future also.
Although communication has been rather limited, (Mnukwa village is in rural Eastern Zambia towards the Malawi border, and rather a long way from anywhere except Chipata), we are sending out extra equipment for the Mnukwa classrooms including knitting machines. These will be much appreciated!
The project is running well and we are now looking at upgrading a few parts of the rooms with security doors. We are also discussing the possibility of building one or two houses so students coming to the centre from the outlying villages could board Monday to Friday. We plan that these are built in 2017 and hope representatives from HANDS AROUND THE WORLD will be able to visit in the early new year.
Please watch this space for news of developments and thank you for your interest and support.
When I first visited India in 2008 I realised that I felt guilty about my country’s colonial past and wondered who I should apologise to! When I finally admitted that to Alindra Naskar, the director of the school, he laughed and told me the benefits of British rule. I remain unconvinced about this, but what is noticeable are the similarities; such as the tea drinking and love of cricket, and tiffin.
Tiffin apparently comes from the old English word to tiff, to sip or take a small drink. This evolved from the British Raj times of ‘taking tea’ to having a small snack.
Here is the tiffin break at the school and you can see the boy in the foreground has the typical tiffin container, normally holding some rice or samosa. This takes place about 9am as the children have been at school since 7am and probably had their breakfast at 6am.
Not all of the children can afford some tiffin, so Alindra ensures that those without do have something to eat mid-morning by providing a tuck shop that gives to those in need.
No one goes without their needs at this school; ‘Education is the birthright of every Child’ is Alindra’s mantra and he puts his words into action.