Everyone involved with this project was delighted to get two independent and unsolicited e-mails from friends in Zambia who have helped us over the years.
Our good friend Sandie made a detour to the village and met with Wilson our resident manager and carpenter. He saw tables and chairs made in the woodwork classroom plus lots of school uniforms being produced in the sewing room.
Peace Corps volunteer Whitney who has been working in the village for the past 18 months also wrote to say how well things are progressing. She too was particularly pleased with the sewing area.
We'll let you see them when we receive more of the eagerly-awaited photos from them both. Sandie did send us a lovely picture of him (on the right) with Wilson.
Now we are planning to get a shipment of extra sewing machines to the project as well as supplementing the tools already on site. We are working with our friends at “Tools for Self- Reliance” on this next phase.
Then the next challenges are to get the training centre registered with the government education department, to get extra staff working on site and to do some “finishing” touches to the structures.
Please support us as we continue to help develop this project!
Dieu Donne our link partner in Benin remembers with us Geoff Burnett who passed away a year ago.
He writes: "Un an déjà que notre très cher papa et ami Geoff nous a quitté; beaucoup de courage à la famille Burnett. C'est le moment pour nous de se souvenir de son passer. Nous avons perdu un grand homme, un homme sage, travailleur, un homme de développement, soucieux de l'avenir des enfants démunis vulnérable - en un mot un leader. Pour notre Fondation le 8 février est une journée de réflexion. Pour cela nous nous sommes réunis pour réfléchir sur nos parcours. Octobre 2000 au 8 Février 2015 beaucoup de choses ont été réalisés; ce fut une fierté de connaître un tel homme. Merci DD"
"It is one year already since our dear friend and father Geoff left us; I wish lots of courage to the Burnett family. It's time for us to remember his passing. We lost a great man, a wise man, a worker, a human developer concerned about the future of vulnerable children in need - in a word a leader. For our Foundation, February 8th is a day of reflection. For this reason we gathered on our journey to think a while. Between October 2000 and 8 February 2015 a lot has been achieved. I am relly proud to have known such a man. Thank you, DD"
Since the last report we have been able to secure funding for the education element of the project. This means that approx 12 new children will be funded to start and finish their secondary education every year. (6 years of further education). Even if the worst happened and the funding stream came to an end there will be 6 years of ongoing funding deposited. Every child who starts secondary education will be funded for the full 6 years.
We have also secured additional funding to complete the kitchen and outbuildings, also to buy beds and mattresses for the first intake of 24 children to the orphanage. A start-up cost and payment for the on site co-ordinator have been agreed.
We have clarified that funds raised from the land and crops, plus the lease of the tractor, should be used for the ongoing costs of running the orphanage. Now we are investigating whether purchasing land rather than renting would benefit the security of the project. The on-site well is completed and new filters have been sent to ensure the new pump will not silt up. There is a manual well less than 200 yards away in case of an emergency.
Systems are being created that monitor the achievement and attendance of children from each of the 5 secondary schools. Benin is signed up to the UN agreement of the rights of the child and a code of conduct is in place for the children accessing the orphanage.
We are as confident as we can be that staff on site have the local knowledge to appropriately assess and evaluate the children attending the orphanage. One co-ordinator will go out to monitor the projects in the Spring and one in the Autumn.
Thank you very much for your support! We hope that this excellent project will continue to go from strength to strength and benefit many more children!
We are delighted that Hands Around the World has been able to identify sponsorship for building the much-needed classrooms at Athi School in 2016!
The project will enable the building of a block of four classrooms, together with toilet and water facilities; the aim is to start the work in mid-February and to complete the work within a year, providing the disabled children with water-tight classrooms and enough space to teach the children in smaller groups. The work on the therapy room, together with planned classroom building, means that the children at Athi Special School will have much-needed improved facilities.
An update from Oliver K, manager of the Disability Centre (DCC): “We completed painting the therapy room at Athi before we closed for the Christmas break and the building is looking good. The DCC workshop and power connection has also been completed and we are just about to start use of the equipment that relied on higher load of electricity and hopefully we can now get started in producing more items to better the lives of the children we serve.”
A planned project visit to our Athi/DCC partners will enable us to evaluate progress of previous initiatives in person, see the building work and assess other needs.
How would you like to help these children living with disabilities? Can you spare time to visit and share your skills – physiotherapy or specialist teaching? Or do you have technology skills in making individual mobility aids that you could share in the workshop at DCC?
Contact email@example.com 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.