Hello again to our supporters and a big hello to our new supporters! Two more lovely people have recently decided to become regular donors, giving a monthly contribution to the Project - thank you!! We’ve also had some wonderful one-off donations from people who care very much about the welfare of children who are less privileged than young people in the western world. One donor is particularly keen to help girls, knowing they face particular challenges in accessing education, as illustrated so well in this recent VSO article:
By coincidence, the 5 children who are new to St Paul’s Children’s Project in 2021 are all girls.
Esther lives with her widowed mother, who sells charcoal at home to provide for her 6 children. Esther’s joining the Project in Grade 8 (the first year of secondary school) at Chipata Skills School, as is Idah, who is a double orphan living with her grandmother. Idah’s grandmother is looking after 8 children and she makes a living by selling vegetables at the local market.
The other three girls are starting in Grade 10 at Chipata Skills. Charity is a double orphan who lives with her aunt at Nabvutika compound in Chipata. Her aunt, whose husband ran away in 2019, has 6 children at home and sells kapenta and beans at Nabvutika market.
Martie has also lost both her parents and lives with her sister, who is a widow and sells vegetables at home.
Priscilla is a double orphan living with her grandmother who sells tomatoes at home.
Our new students were all enrolled in schools in March but they’re starting, of course, in a year marked by school disruptions. Our tentative hopes for a return to something like normal were dashed when schools were closed with effect from 17 June in response to a spike in Covid cases in Zambia - initially for 3 weeks, but closure was then extended to 16 August. Schools were allowed to open from 5 August for exam classes (to enable students to prepare adequately for their final exams), with universities and colleges required to continue with online classes for the next few weeks.
Our dedicated Committee members in Chipata have kept in close touch with all students during this difficult period and made sure everyone has what they need.
Since our last update, we’ve had the cold season in Zambia and we sent money so that second hand jerseys could be bought for the children. Here are Sam and Alfred modelling the warm clothing they’ve just collected!
Alice and Grace, our only students to complete their secondary school education in December 2020, got good results in their Grade 12 exams and are now waiting to start teacher training courses (hopefully later this month) at Sambizga College of Education in Chipata.
We very much hope the Covid situation will improve. All our students are well at the moment but we were very concerned to learn recently that Naomi’s husband was suffering from (and briefly hospitalised with) Covid, and we’re thankful that he’s now recovered and feeling well again. We’re also delighted to hear that vaccines have reached Chipata!! Naomi tells us that she and many people in Chipata have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is also available. Good news indeed! – but latest statistics show that only 1.5% of the country’s population has been vaccinated so far.
There’s much uncertainty, and some tension, in Zambia at the moment – not least because of the general election, which took place on 12 August. Final results, which have been difficult to predict, are still awaited but the opposition leader has taken the lead in early results following a high turnout of voters. Whatever the outcome, our hope is for peace and stability in the country.
We followed Zambia’s fortunes at the Tokyo Olympics with interest. Teams took part in athletics, running and boxing, and the women’s football team (the Copper Queens) made history by qualifying to represent Africa at these Games. While they conceded 10 goals to the Netherlands (it’s worth pointing out that the Netherlands were World Cup 2019 runners-up!), their captain Barbra Banda scored Zambia’s first ever women’s goal at an Olympics and went on to score a hat-trick. She then scored another hat-trick in the game against China which was drawn 4-4. Well done, Zambia!
Meanwhile, back in Chipata, the building project for student flats near the College of Nursing is nearing completion, with painting currently being undertaken. It only remains for the flats to be furnished and they’ll be ready to welcome their first tenants. Exciting!
We’ve been very fortunate indeed to have your wonderful support to help make a difference to the lives of the children we’re helping. There’s still so much need, of course, but we shouldn’t let the fact that we can’t do everything stop us from doing something.
We can’t thank you enough for helping!!
Malcolm and Elaine