HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD seeks to help vulnerable children around the world, encouraging enthusiastic and well-prepared volunteers to offer practical help, skill-sharing, support and friendship.
Nov 4, 2014

November 2014 Update

Happy enthralled Children!
Happy enthralled Children!

A team of 5 Hands Around the World volunteers have just spent nearly 2 weeks at the project. They were warmly welcomed by the villagers and had an exciting time.

Their arrival coincided with the celebrations of 50th Anniversary of Zambia’s independence and the volunteers were treated to songs, poems and dancing by the local children. Everyone had a fantastic time and when the boys dressed up as animals there was plenty of laughter. 

The main objectives for the trip were to get the carpentry and sewing projects up and running and with sewing machines in place (thanks to Tools for Self Reliance) and the new deliveries from the UK of carpentry tools,  volunteers Sian (sewing) and Dan (carpentry) were very busy. 

In these pictures Sian is working with one of the ladies and the chief is trying his hand at carpentry after the official hand over of the building.

The Hands Around the World team included 2 sports students who ran very popular lessons and games sessions as well as helping in the classroom art and play sessions. 

We made the decision to get 5 children from each of the 5 schools in the chiefdom and make the 90 minute drive to the famous South Luangwa park. There were many logistical challenges but eventually these lucky few saw a lioness, elephant etc for the first time. The 5 selected teachers also enjoyed this as a first for them.

The Vocational training centre was opened and with tools in place, some good people enthused the team left feeling confident that this was the start of a new chapter for Mnukwa. 

There are many things still to do but 2014 has certainly been a busy year for the project with many positives evident.

Sewing together
Sewing together
The Chief has a go!
The Chief has a go!
Going to see the Animals
Going to see the Animals
Farewell
Farewell
Oct 31, 2014

November 2014 Update

Paluoc with its Top Floor complete
Paluoc with its Top Floor complete

Paluoc carpentry workshop is still at a very early stage of its development. Last year the first three trainees successfully completed their Grade 3 examinations. They are seeking work so that the trainees get real experience of what is required in addition to the instructional sessions. The exciting thing is to see them gradually making progress. At the outset the plan was to add on an additional storey as soon as it was clear that the workshop was up and running, and proving to be successful in obtaining recruits and equipping them with valuable work skills.

The first photo shows the completed upper storey. By local standards it is a very impressive structure, completed to high standards. This was always the aim of Paul Achola, the manager and chief instructor – he wants to train youngsters to produce a better than average standard of work. The second photo shows the view of the building from the main Kisumu to Nairobi road. It is well placed to be seen from the road; hopefully enhancing both recruitment of trainees and the pursuit of work.

The third photo shows another exciting development that is nearing fruition. A planing / finishing machine was bought to aid work in the workshop and also to potentially provide a source of income; planing wood for other carpenters. These machines create a huge amount of sawdust and using it indoors was not practical as it filled the rest of the workshop with dust. Moving the machine in and out when it needed to be used was investigated. It was a possible solution, and it is a method employed by other workshops in Kisumu. The potential problem is that the machine could be damaged, it would be hard work and during some seasons it would not be possible. The better solution, aided by some extra funding that was made available by some well-wishers, was to build a hard-standing area outside of the workshop. It had to be secure and it had to provide shelter from the sun, wind and rain. The third photo shows the foundations for this building which we hope will soon be completed. The planing machine will be located there.

The overall effect of looking at the buildings is “wow”. It is a very desirable place with which to be associated; it looks smart and modern. Just the sort of place that youngsters would like to attend to be trained, we hope.

Finally, the last photo shows Paluoc’s solution to another issue. We wanted to make sure that the locals all knew what was going on at the workshop. My suggestion was that a banner be produced to hang outside the building saying “Paluoc Carpentry Training Workshop” and contact details for potential recruits. Paul’s first thought was to paint the information on the side of the building as it had been before the extension. I did say that he was to do whatever he thought most appropriate. Subsequently he has come up with the brilliant idea of a brightly coloured mural, very much in keeping with local culture, showing the workshop as a very vibrant place. What a great job, and hopefully it too will help encourage recruitment and work generation.

It certainly makes Paluoc look like a very vibrant and worthwhile place!

Great attention has also been paid to ensuring that the workshop is secure and its valuable stock of tools and completed work is safe. They have recently purchased some new power tools to help the workshop and its training methods to continue moving forward. Watch this space!

One of the volunteers who helped to build the workshop is going to visit the workshop next month, at her own expense. We look forward to hearing her report.

Seen from the Main Road
Seen from the Main Road
Foundations for the Planer house
Foundations for the Planer house
The magnificent Mural!
The magnificent Mural!
Oct 8, 2014

October 2014 Update

One of the lovely Children in Affame
One of the lovely Children in Affame
An enduring feature of our projects in Benin since 2001 - without a break - has been our determination to give volunteer support to the African teams of volunteers in the remote rural region of Affame, Benin. Our African hosts have carefully identified the most pressing needs within their community following consultation with local chiefs and representatives of elected groups.
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We started by helping them to restore the residence for nurses of the Health Centre (which had been virtually destroyed by fire) necessitating their use of beds in the Centre, taking up much needed space there. We moved on to the installation of water and electricity in the Health Centre. This facility was sustained for another eight years until, unfortunately, the flat roof yielded to the tropical rainstorms. But good news!  The Health Authority, subsequently built a new Health Centre acknowledging the joint efforts of both volunteer groups. 
 
Next we were approached by the Head Teacher of the Dogba school, situated across the river Oueme from Affame. Three traditionally built classrooms had been washed away during the rainy months and help was needed to support the building of replacements which might endure the annual flooding. These buildings on stilts are now fully operational. 
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It was during this time that we came to understand the plight of orphaned youngsters in relation to school attendance. School fees had to be paid, uniforms were required at secondary level and difficult daily journeys of up to 15km had to be made by many.  A UK Charity - Inside Out Trust - a 'prison-based' organisation donated ninety cycles one year to help with these journeys. Understandably with such physical exertions it was decided that a daily lunch would also be needed if the young people were to get the maximum benefit from their efforts.
   
Currently there are more than one hundred orphans in the programme, with ten now at University, sixteen have completed or are pursuing apprenticeships and the great majority are attending schools or colleges. 
 
MANY THANKS INDEED TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE MADE THIS POSSIBLE WITH YOUR MOST GENEROUS SUPPORT.
 
Earlier this year five HATW volunteers  - Dick, David, Mary, Guillaume and Adeline - were in Affame assisting with the construction of the orphan rescue and training centre Adjidole which is now nearing completion. The last full Global Giving report  was submitted by them in July and included the additional element of the work done by Mary - a recently retired Ophthalmologist. The African team have subsequently taken twenty-seven persons to the specialist hospital in Paracou where a variety of conditions have been/are being successfully treated. Plastering, painting and the fitting of doors and windows remain to be achieved, and all financial assistance towards these goals will be most gratefully received. 
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Progress at Adjidole has been remarkable given the amazing weather extremes, the well-drilling to a depth in excess of thirty metres was successful and the training facilities for Carpentry, Red-Oil production, Motor-Vehicle Maintenance, Bread-making and Tailoring are due to follow-on when the Centre is ready to receive its' first residents. Soon our focus will be to furnish and equip the Centre. Dieudonne, Albert, Jean, Felicienne, Delphine and Blandine will be the initial staffing team and Shadrack, the local baker will be the first with a training responsibility. It is estimated that an annual sum of $15,000 would sustain this level of staffing.
 
Our volunteers Guillaume and Adeline, from France, are aiming to continue their association with the projects during 2015 and they recently revisited the Hands Around The World base in Monmouth and met up with me in Lancashire too. Their skills with computers in particular will be a great asset.
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We look forward to lots of exciting new developments in the coming years! Please continue your support, and watch this space!
Dogba Village scene
Dogba Village scene
The Adjidole Centre starts to go up 2014
The Adjidole Centre starts to go up 2014

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