Greetings from Zambia!
I have been visiting PIZZ School since 2004 and have seen it and the children develop.
The provision of school meals has made a real difference to the children. I can see that they are livelier and healthier. Each year I talk to many children at the school to find out how they are getting on, what lessons and activities they enjoy and what they most like about coming to school. Some tell me that one of the best things about school is the food! Unfortunately for many, this small meal is their main food of the day – some will even take part of their meal back for their families.
I am once again in Monze and have spoken to Mrs. Sianga about the feeding project. She tells me that the difference the food is making is enormous. The children are able to concentrate on their lessons and this has resulted in some wonderful academic results. Out of 74 children who took their grade 9 examinations last December 53 where successful – this was the best set of results for all schools in Monze. Attendance levels at the school have also dramatically improved. In previous years children would have to go around the town to try to get some food and consequently would miss lessons.
The children are keen to come to school and the success of the former students encourages them and their families to believe that they can improve their lives.
There are many challenges faced by the school in providing lunches. Water is a major issue. Sometimes because of low water levels and rationed electricity there is no water at the school for several days. Large containers need to be filled and brought to site. Cooking facilities etc. are inadequate and feeding 360 plus children each day makes a lot of work for the staff. However, because they see the great impact the food is having, they manage to overcome all the obstacles and feed the children daily.
Thanks to your continued support the children at PIZZ School can look forward to a brighter future!
Dick Wheelock writes: "I spent most of April 2016 in Benin to meet up with old friends and see how the Chez Papa Geoff orphanage is progressing. Much has gone well but work has temporarily halted as everyone rushes to plant their maize before the rains.
For this visit I stayed in the orphanage to test the facilities which turned out to be wonderful even if bucket showers were the order of the day. The dormitories are well ventilated and were cool even during some very hot weather. The composting toilet functions as advertised, with no smell, and the separation of liquids / solids is foolproof with plenty of wood ash (to help composting) available throughout village."
Speaking to Dick on his return from Affame, it would seem that the hold up in accommodating the 22 children identified for the orphanage is the water pump. Due to the fine silt-like quality of the earth, the electric pump is clogging up. While there Dick was able to extend the depth of the well by 2 metres to allow the pump be suspended in the water. Also he has identified a new solar powered pump which will be both more effective and sustainable.
The main block with bedrooms, toilets, showers and an office are complete, as well as the kitchen area. The footings for the thatched dining hut are in place. Money sent recently will be spent on beds and mattresses so that the children can be admitted asap.
There is a bit of a delay at the moment as everybody is working in the fields prior to the rains. The dining hut can be completed when the children are on site.
We are now looking now the cost benefits of purchasing land for crops rather than rental. This would provide food and cash crops to secure the long term future of the project.
Plans are in place to monitor attainment and attendance at the end of term. All schools are to send records of individual children to Dieu Donne (acting in loco parentis). He will then forward these to us to build into a spread sheet.
I will be visiting Affame in the 3rd week of October and should be able then to look at and discuss any discrepancies.
Thank you for your support for this wonderful project!
As I write this report, I am making plans for my forthcoming trip to visit our DCC partners and the disability school at Athi. I am delighted that I will be travelling with the HATW Executive Officer, David Steiner, who will be staying in Maua for a week before he travels on to visit other HATW projects in Zambia.
It is several years since I last visited the DCC and Athi school, so I am looking forward to seeing the recent developments. I am hoping to see the new therapy room at Athi school in use, with the children having access to regular therapy on site. Also, the improvements to the DCC workshop, including the upgraded power supply, should mean I see significant changes there. Our visit will enable us to evaluate progress and identify new development areas going forward.
During our visit, we hope to meet with the Disability Centre manager, Oliver, and the DCC staff team, as well as with Esther and the teaching team at the school. We hope to consolidate the plans for building the classroom block at the school (the money is now available).
The water supply to the school is still a problem – though piped water is available locally, the school still manages with only two standpipes for the children’s use; washroom facilities that have been in place for some years are still not connected to a regular water supply. We hope to be able to prompt local discussions and solutions to address this ongoing problem.
The 2015 annual report for the DCC has been published and identifies the good work which is continuing through the work of the staff team. This includes direct work with over a thousand children from the surrounding community. There is also wider support through 3280 mothers involved in 164 self-help groups (promoted by DCC), positively impacting a huge number of children in the local community.
The work of the DCC to support children with disabilities continues through:
Identified challenges going forward at the DCC include:
insufficient staffing, for which ongoing funding is still being sought;
the continuing need to effectively educate and inform families and the local community, to ensure that children with disabilities are identified early and receive appropriate help.
What can you offer by way of help?
We place skilled volunteers with partner projects for 3 weeks to 3 months to share their expertise and encourage the local staff.
We also look for funding partners, who are willing to sponsor initiatives like classroom building or financing the water supply to the school.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to arrange a volunteering visit; or donate directly to making a difference in the lives of children living with health challenges who attend Athi Special school.