Work and training at Paluoc Carpentry workshop continues to go well. The workshop has carried on as usual with teaching the trainees new carpentry skills, whilst at the same time seeking real carpentry/joinery work for them to do to help them earn a few shillings for themselves and their families.
Most of their work is to do with providing desks, benches and lockers for local schools. The school population of Kisumu continues to grow quite rapidly so there is a fairly steady demand. However the demand for desks etc is very seasonal. Schools want them and order them at the beginning of the school year but by this stage all of those orders have been delivered.
There is some demand for bed frames for people’s homes, and for tables and chairs for churches and community centres, but these are not sufficient to provide a continuous flow of orders and work.
In some ways this is good as it allows Paul to concentrate on teaching new skills to the trainees, but if the workshop is eventually to be self-sufficient then they always need to be on the lookout for other ways of earning money.
Recently Paul has been loaning out some of his more experienced trainees to help with carpentry jobs on building sites - they have been fixing wardrobes, door frames and doors.
This is Bonaventure, one of Paul’s most skilful and trusted trainees fitting a wardrobe.
Kennedy and Stephen are hanging a door in a newly built home.
Meanwhile Maurine, one of Paul’s two female trainees, works at improving her skills back at the workshop.
Slowly but steadily the workshop is establishing itself and becoming accepted as a successful way of providing free training for youngsters who have earlier missed out on their education.
Thank you very much for your ongoing support for these needy young people!
The past few months at Kaliyangile have been challenging, but everyone is working hard to move forward, supporting the vulnerable teenagers in Chisamba.
The project has always looked into ways of maximising the effectiveness of its activities. In its early days, a substantial water system was introduced with a wind pump and a series of tanks and reservoirs. Repair of the wind pump is being carried out to prevent reliance on the erratic electricity supply. But unfortunately the incubator does rely on electricity and because of power rationing (known as 'load-shedding' - which means planned lengthy daily power cuts) it cannot currently be used.
The sow will be sold on so that the piggery project can be put back on track.
The bee keeping course and the computing training are well under way, also giving the students opportunities to acquire some extra income.
Matilda – a former Kaliyangile student – is now working from home, having bought her own sewing machine. She told me that she had plenty of customers for her products and she was also able to provide clothes for her children so that they were no longer “running around in rags”. It is good to see former students able to look after themselves and their families. Matilda would like to get a treadle machine that will enable her to work faster.
Life in Zambia is always hard for most people, and particularly in the long dry season. Often there is no rain at all from Easter right through until November! Poor harvests in recent years have made life even more difficult – and with the drop in world copper prices, the value of the currency, the Zambian Kwacha, has dropped dramatically leading to a greatly increased cost of living. Providing help to give teenagers extra skills is even more important to help them through the difficult times.
Thank you very much for your much-valued ongoing support.
Having focussed on the young people of the vocational training centre in Siriba for previous updates, I thought this time that I would tell you a little of what goes on here in the UK.
I am lucky to have six grandchildren ranging from two years to seven years old. They all live close to our home within their own settled family environments. Mya, aged six, took part in a project on Africa at her school last term. Since this she has shown a keen interest in my photographs of the people of Siriba. I have taken over 2000 during my visits - good, bad and ugly!
Mya has noticed that most of the children of her age are very poorly dressed and has decided to do her bit to help. During one of the few sunny days we had during the school summer holidays, I showed Mya some of the photographs again. She is noticing much more now than she did before the school project.
We went to a nearby sunflower field last week as she has decided that she wants to help many of the young children to have some better clothes.She has decorated her clothes collection box and is determined to fill it before I go to Siriba again. She is promising shoes, shorts, dresses and really anything else decent that she can find!
You may wonder what this has to do with a vocational training centre? Well these people need all the help we can give them and something decent to wear makes the little ones feel ten feet tall!
So watch out British Airways, it looks as though you will have to be generous again and give us another double baggage allowance!