By Rev Mike Williams - HANDS AROUND THE WORLD Project Co-ordinator
The work of the Siriba Vocational Training Project is continuing to provide training for young people in a variety of practical disciplines. But it has so far proved difficult to get the project fully recognised with the local education authority which means that no funding has been forthcoming from the government. It is not fully clear why this is so. Our indications are that for the project to be recognised certain standards have to be achieved by the unit and this is proving difficult because of problems with funding both for ongoing costs and for building costs. For example, whenever instructors cannot attend the unit because of family difficulties or illness there is no one to keep the students constructively occupied. There was a hope that back-up instructors could be employed but there is simply not enough funding to support such a scheme. It may be that the project will have to downsize in order to be properly viable.
We are now in negotiation with the Board of Governors to see what funds we will be required for the next financial year. Fundraising is proving difficult although we are pledging that we can offer them £5000 GBP. We will have to work hard to raise this amount. We have asked the Board of Governors to come up with a sustainable plan for the next financial year because, in the past, their plans have not been financially realistic. (More news from them is expected soon) This may mean a reduction in staffing levels and in the number of courses being offered but this seems to be the only way forward since income from student fees and from product sales has not yet begun to match expectations. Of course, since most of the students are orphans that is not surprising.
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