Some of the challenges of Covid 19 have been the same the world over and yet in some areas, even where infection rates appear to have been relatively low, coping with restrictions and regulations has been especially difficult. One such place is Monze in the southern province of Zambia where our partner project, Pizz School, is situated. As in many places teachers, support staff and pupils have had to cope with both fear of the deadly virus and with the reluctance of some to adhere to guidelines for social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
Throughout the progress of the pandemic the staff of Pizz School have been there to guide, encourage and support the vulnerable children who are part of their community, helping to keep them safe and cared for. Behind the staff are the supporters of Hands Around The World, who have maintained sponsorship of the project and donated money towards the additional expenses brought by Covid. It’s hard to observe hand hygiene without adequate washing facilities and so HATW has supplied bowls and soap to enable the school to meet government criteria. Orphaned children are often cared for by extended family members who have struggled to provide for these children because of rising food prices associated with poor rains followed by the pandemic. HATW has provided funds for basic supplies to be given to those most in need. Learning at home is a real challenge in an area where evenings are dark and most rural homes are without electricity and so, thanks to HATW supporters the school is able to supply solar lamps to pupils.
Despite every attempt being made to maintain contact with all pupils during school closure there are inevitably some sad stories. Meg (not her real name) temporarily dropped through the net and, being desperate to support herself and her ailing grandmother, took the sad decision to prostitute herself to get money for food. When Pizz staff were able to make contact they found her in advanced pregnancy. Contact is now maintained and Meg has been provided with emotional support, food and clothing for her baby. It is hoped that she will return to education one day. Everyone at Hands Around The World and at Pizz School would like to express their gratitude to all those who, during a period which has been difficult throughout the world, have kept a global outlook and reached out beyond their own community.
By Mawini | Student of Veterinary Medicine, Zambia
Thank you so much for your support. Below you can read about Mawini's journey with this project from grade 1 primary to university...
"I am a Zambian youth aged 24 years old in my final year of study at the University of Zambia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine. I did my primary education at Pizz School in Monze under the supervision of Mrs Sianga who is also the school director. My academic journey from primary to secondary education has been with the support of HATW and it is through this organization that I have made it this far. HATW did not only provide for my financial need but for my social and emotional needs as well through various means which helped me fit in society despite been an orphan from the lowest income household group.
My degree journey ends this month (December, 2020) after which a new phase will begin. I stand not only as a HATW beneficiary but also as an example to most children out there indicating to them that with support, encouragement and help from the HATW family there is so much one can achieve regardless of their social status. My prayer and hope is to see many underprivileged children excel in life. Professionally I hope to become an internationally recognized veterinarian with a primary aim of setting an example for the younger generation while alleviating pain and suffering in animals.
I have faith and hope that next year (April, 2021) the HATW family will celebrate with me as I officially graduate as a Veterinary surgeon."
Please donate if you can and help more talented young people like Mawini reach for their potential.
By Lynda Steiner | HANDS AROUND THE WORLD Project Co-ordinator
One exam class back in school
Schools in Zambia have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but are now beginning to gradually open their doors to pupils once more, under strict government guidelines. Numbers of new cases nationally are continuing to rise (to date at 5555 in total and with 149 deaths), albeit these are still at a low level when compared to many other countries.
So far Pizz School has admitted only those pupils who are in their examination years Grades 7 and 9. Opening in a Covid-secure way is not without its costs and so HATW is grateful to those who have already made contributions towards these additional financial demands which were obviously not budgeted for.
Returning pupils will benefit from the solar panels and water pump which have recently been installed, and we now aim to raise sufficient funds to build a secure cage fence to protect these assets.
Throughout the school closure the school staff and volunteers have remained committed to the wellbeing of the children, ensuring that contact is maintained wherever possible and that the most vulnerable children receive donations of food to prevent hunger and malnutrition.
We at HATW are deeply grateful to you and all who continue to support the school and thereby give life chances to vulnerable children who may otherwise lack food, support and education.
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