This vocational training centre is now coming under the wing of Mnukwa village secondary school and will in future be used for training their older teenagers in carpentry and tailoring. Whilst we at HANDS AROUND THE WORLD maintain an interest, and currently give a grant to cover the workshop manager's wages, we do not plan any regular financial support from the handover time.
Thank you for all your support - it is much appreciated!
We hope the Mnukwa centre will continue to thrive under new management and serve the needs of lots of local young people for many years to come.
Please continue to help us with our work with very disadvantaged children and young people elsewhere.
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It was good to be able to visit Mnukwa village this week, see the skills centre and talk to those involved in its development. Arriving at the tail end of a very wet rainy season, it was immediately apparent how rural a location this is and how vulnerable the dirt roads are to stormy weather. At times the village is in effect cut off, with consequent difficulty for those children trying to get to school, or those attempting to take their harvested crops to market.
I find it hard to communicate the level of poverty which exists here. Although not a war-torn country or one hitting the news headlines for malnutrition, life for most people here is at a very basic subsistence level. Simple things which we easily take for granted don't happen here because of a lack of a pound or two to replace light bulbs, buy exercise books, a torch or get tools sharpened.
The centre comprises an L-shaped block where one arm is a carpentry workshop, and the other a tailoring one. Nearby is now a house for Wilson the carpenter / manager, a bore-hole and toilets. The village school is not far away and has recently started to accept older children as it grows into secondary status. Importantly this means that teenagers studying woodwork and home economics will increasingly form the bulk of those young people using the training centre, along with younger children on short work experience days out of school.
If the children here are ever to break out of the depressing cycle of poverty, they need to stay at school, then move on to further training and hopefully into employment. This skills centre is vital to their futures.
At HATW we are very grateful for your past support and ask you please to encourage your friends to help us make a huge difference in the lives of these children, young people and their families. Thank you so much, on their behalf!
The Mnukwa Youth Training centre has settled down well and Hands Around the World have agreed to continue to fund Wilson who manages the THREE classrooms with his wife and lives in the on site house built by HATW. A recent visit by John Hunt was reassuring and John and his team helped tidy up the area and give some advise on how to maintain the area more efficiently.
We are looking forward to HATW’s founder David Steiner visiting towards the end of the month as it will be his first such visit since setting the whole project in motion in 2010. We are also eagerly awaiting the delivery of extra sewing machines and some knitting machines. The latter will mean that there will have to be some training programmes put in place but the long term benefits should be very exciting.
With regular classes being run in both the carpentry and sewing rooms the programme still needs time to settle and for the next steps to be decided upon and then taken.
As we approach the end of 2016 the Hands Around the World (HATW) project in Mnukwa district in the Eastern Province in Zambia has seen a consolidation at the 'skills centre'. Centre manager Wilson has a regular group of teenagers attending both the carpentry and the sewing classes. They have made furniture for the local market and have also successfully completed an order for another charity group working in the area. The sewing area is now producing school uniforms as well as allowing villagers to make clothing for themselves.
The project has been supported by 'ZOE' (a UK charity also working in the area) and their staff and this help has made a very big and positive difference to the development and future of the skills centre. 2017 will see more work being done to upgrade the centre and it's still planned to add 2 more houses next door which will act as accommodation for the young people who live in other villages.
HATW has also worked with 'Tools for Self Reliance' (a UK charity which refurbishes and recycles tools of various sorts) to get knitting machines, more sewing machines and repair kits to the centre. There will be classes to teach the villagers how to use the new equipment.
These have been stressful times in Zambia as the general and presidential election in August has had unexpected effects, such as bank closures, strikes, media shutdowns and general confusion. Fortunately the violence has been limited and localised and although many are unhappy with the results, the country seems now to be calming down again. Zambia historically has been a very friendly, calm and tolerant place and we hope that will hold true in future also.
Although communication has been rather limited, (Mnukwa village is in rural Eastern Zambia towards the Malawi border, and rather a long way from anywhere except Chipata), we are sending out extra equipment for the Mnukwa classrooms including knitting machines. These will be much appreciated!
The project is running well and we are now looking at upgrading a few parts of the rooms with security doors. We are also discussing the possibility of building one or two houses so students coming to the centre from the outlying villages could board Monday to Friday. We plan that these are built in 2017 and hope representatives from HANDS AROUND THE WORLD will be able to visit in the early new year.
Please watch this space for news of developments and thank you for your interest and support.
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