I am writing this update from Zambia. I visited the project a few weeks ago and will be making another trip to Chisamba this Thursday when I will meet with Global Giving's representative.
I arrived when the students were having a short break, but there was plenty of activity at the Centre. There were 150 chickens ready to be sold – the chicken production has been the major source of income recently. Tomatoes were also almost ready to be harvested.
There are now a number of ventures which are coming on stream. Village chickens are multiplying and soon some will be sold. The cows are currently producing 8-9 litres of milk a day, the intention is to improve the grazing and thus the yield. There are 4 piglets, a boar and a sow which will soon enable regular pig production.
The students who have been doing a tailoring course have completed. They also followed a year long course in bee-keeping – the first crop of honey is due to be harvested any day now! It is hoped to start a small production unit for the tailors who have completed the course – enabling them to start earning a little money and generate extra income for the project. They will also be given charge of bee-hives where they will be able to get some honey.
There are still big challenges meeting the ongoing costs and work is needed to improve the infrastructure – some of the buildings are in need of repair and the electrics need some work to bring them up to scratch.
Donations are needed, especially until some of the income generating activities come fully on stream.
Thank you very much for your support.
Great strides have been made to make the project self sustaining, though further challenges have been faced in the past three months. Due to the effect of the prolonged drought on hydroelectricity generation, mains electricity in Zambia is now switched off for twelve hours each day and although some rain has fallen recently, it was too late to plant any maize this year.
However, despite the difficulties, the project is moving on. The production of chickens still provides the major income, 200 – 300 are raised at a time in an ongoing rolling programme. The sow has produced four healthy piglets – this is the start of what should be another profitable venture, as well as providing more training experience for the Kaliyangile students.
Another calf has been born and, with the new grass following the rains, additional milk production will result.
Two more bee-hives have been colonised after being baited by the students and the bee-keeping training is progressing well. (see pictures below)
The tailoring students are being prepared for their exams which should take place soon.
I will be visiting the project in May to see at first hand how the project is progressing and to discuss some of the challenges faced by our local partners.
There is still much to do to help the project to progress - for instance if £1,500 could be raised for a maize hammer mill, the extra income generated could provide funding to cover some training costs, or help with necessary improvements to the buildings. You can watch a hammer mill in operation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDD5tRndEms
Your help is much appreciated and is making a real difference to the community in Chisamba.
The past few months have been very demanding for the Project.
The rains due at the end of October / beginning of November have still not arrived. The few showers so far this year are insufficient to enable crops to be planted and haven't made any difference to the water and electricity shortages.
However the local team has risen to the challenge. Two new calves have been born, 200 chickens will be ready for sale within a few weeks and a new sow should produce piglets in the near future. These are important activities to provide the income needed to pay for the training of the teenagers at the Centre. It is good to see plenty of activity at the centre - the local community visit to buy products and children enjoy themselves.
The students are involved in all aspects of the centre's work from growing vegetables to looking after the livestock and developing and marketing products from the bees. This gives them additional opportunities to obtain a livelihood for themselves and their families.
Lack of rain has made it difficult to grow the vegetables and means that the cattle are not producing as much milk as would be hoped. Even the orchard has suffered – the citrus plants are much smaller than expected. The wind pump is now working well, but sometimes there is insufficient wind to fully fill the tanks. Costs have increased dramatically because of the depreciation of the local currency – the kwacha.
It will be a struggle, particularly over the next few months, to raise the necessary funds for the centre, any support you can give to help these young people achieve a better future will be much appreciated.
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.
I write this update from Zambia having just visited the project at Chisamba.
In addition to their tailoring classes the students are busy with other activities.
They are all involved in the agricultural side of the project gaining useful life skills. At this time the maize is being harvested – as predicted the centre has beaten the poor rains and gathered more produce than last year. Arrangements are being made to collect the piles of maize from the fields and bring them to the centre, where the seeds will be removed from the cobs. It is hoped that, if funding can be found, a grinding machine can be bought to continue the process of producing the flour. Such a machine will also provide a further source of income for the project.
The first honey is now due for harvesting and the students are keen to be involved in the practical work of turning the honeycomb into jars of honey and beeswax candles. The forestry commission is keen to join forces with Kaliyangile to provide comprehensive training.
Two or three of the cows are 'in calf' and it is expected that milking will recommence in October or November.
An additional area has been set aside to grow vegetables and a heavy crop of tomatoes will be ripe very shortly.
Together with the pigs, fish and poultry there is a wide range of agricultural experiences for the students to encounter.
The computer classes are very popular. The main challenge at the moment is acquiring some more equipment.
We are very grateful for your ongoing support and encouragement!
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