This year as well as being able to see how the project was progressing, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the new staff and the management committee.
It is clear that everyone involved in the project is enthusiastic about changing the lives of the children. They stressed that just completing the course did not provide a passport out of poverty. The tailor told me that some of his students cannot afford to buy a reel of cotton costing K2,000 (about 25p), so there was no way they could imagine buying a sewing machine without help. One suggestion is for students to raise money from some of the practical agricultural work. They have each been given a small patch of land, where they are currently growing carrots. The idea is for these crops to be sold and part of the proceeds put aside to build a little fund to buy equipment on graduation.
There is a shortage of materials for the carpentry and tailoring courses which is presenting some challenges. Both instructors are highly regarded locally and, when they have time, they make some items for local people. This brings in some income for the centre. This money is used to buy some of the materials needed. There is also a shortage of tools and equipment. I am bringing back details of the specific shortages. These include certain types of plane for carpentry and a buttonhole making machine for tailoring.
Raising sufficient funds to pay the general bills is always a challenge. 300 day old chickens were purchased and by careful fund management they have been grown until now they produce 250 eggs each day. There was a loss of about a dozen chicks when a snake got into the barn and one chicken that looked a little different to the rest turned out to be a cockerel! The electricity bill has been reduced to about a quarter of its previous cost by discovering a special tariff for non-profit making organisations – this has helped considerably.
Additional profit generating activities are needed and if the fish ponds can be brought into use, this will make a big difference to the budget. There is a good water distribution system with a wind pump getting the water from a borehole, however there is a lot of leakage around the pump at the moment which would need to be fixed before the ponds could become operational – though the cost is likely to be small. Often the difficulty with maintenance is finding the appropriate expertise locally.
This visit gives me added hope because of the new initiatives from staff and committee members moving the project forward,despite receiving limited funding over the past year.
I will pay a final visit this week to re-establish the accounts system. The project laptop has developed a fault which seems to me to be terminal – so I will leave them my laptop to help them budget, as well as making it easier to communicate with me in the UK.
Jim, one of the Hands Around the World trustees, visited the project
in June and was delighted with the progress made since last year.
Despite a continual struggle with limited resources, the centre has
been able to expand its vegetable garden and now also has more than
300 chickens. This is bringing in some income to pay essential bills
such as electricity and feed for the animals during the dry season.
Two cows and a heifer are pregnant and calves are expected in
November – this will enable milk production to resume. In this way
the centre is able to do its part to make the project sustainable.
The tailoring students are very keen, with a further 10 being
enrolled back in May. Previous students have continued to make use of
the Centre's equipment to help them start small businesses. One is
returning to complete her schooling funding her fees from shirts and
dresses she makes and another hopes to save enough money to buy her
own machine and make a living from tailoring.
The carpentry department is currently enrolling new students and has
produced some furniture and a beehive to sell locally. Funds are
urgently required to buy wood for the carpentry class. The sale of
goods will be used for this purpose, though additional donations are
The rainy season will begin again at the end of October / beginning
of November and it is planned to plant 1 hectare of maize and ½
hectare of sugar kidney beans – funds permitting. These crops are
used to provide food for the students and supplement the feed for the
I am looking forward to returning to Zambia in September to spend
some time with the students and staff and see myself what a
difference the project is making.
During the past few months, despite the financial constraints, the project has been moving forwards.
The Centre is well on the way to becoming an approved training centre and will be registered by Teveta. This will enable examinations to take place on site avoiding fees for external examinations and the transport costs.
The newly appointed manager is busy making best use of current resources.
Although not yet complete, the new workshop is being used to train students in carpentry. Chickens are being fattened and sold to the local community to bring in extra funds. It is clearly recognized that this is a partnership, the local people will do what they can to generate income locally, but they also need our support.
This project faces major challenges, but the local people are determined to make a difference to the local teenagers. Any funds they receive are being carefully allocated to bring maximum benefit – the priority at the moment being to ensure that there are sufficient materials for the tailoring and carpentry classes.
Some tailoring students have completed their courses and are currently producing items for sale, while waiting to sit their examinations. Similarly, as the carpentry students become more proficient, they expect to sell some of their work to raise additional funds.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.
Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.Start a Fundraiser