I visited Monze this year between June and the end of August.
Progress has been made during the past year particularly thanks to support through GlobalGiving and other donations linked to past volunteers.
Books have been bought – particularly for grade 8 and 9 students. These books are expensive (on average £6 - £7 each) and the school had very few to share among all the students. The situation is now much better, though they are still far from having enough – especially for the earlier grades.
The examination results have been good, with some students last year qualifying to move to secondary school.
Apparently this is a rare achievement for a Community school – two of these students are being sponsored and Mrs. Sianga is currently supplementing this income. Other students haven't the means to continue their education.
With the added books Mrs. Sianga is hoping for better results at the end of this year.
It has also been possible for the children to have some new balls and sports kit (shirts and shorts). This has increased the interest in the football and netball, and the school is doing well in the local leagues with some of the children joining other local teams.
The school grounds have now been fenced to prevent animals getting in. They hope to grow vegetables and plant some trees in the grounds during the coming months.
The school has an extra laptop – though there are still issues with both laptops they have, they have some internet access using a USB modem and hope to be able to use a webcam to connect to the UK.
Most of the teachers are awaiting government posts. In July the majority of these were suddenly offered positions leaving Mrs. Sianga and the headteachers a major problem to recruit more staff. Despite this they had almost a full complement when the school re-opened in September.
On a recent visit by the education officers Mrs. Sianga was told that they were very impressed by the teaching
that was being carried out. The main complaints were that there were insufficient toilets for the children and there was no space within the school for the children to have any recreation activities.
Last week there was a very strong wind in Monze which caused considerable damage to the school – the roof was lifted off and the rain destroyed many of the newly acquired books. With grade 9 examinations imminent this has happened at a particularly difficult time. The damage is estimated at about £1,500 without including the replacement of the books. (About £750 was spent last year to buy 120 books)