August! As we head into another heatwave here in the UK, we hope everyone’s well and coping with the unusual conditions. By contrast, Zambia is just emerging from a cold season that’s been unusually cold!
We’ve got lots of good news (and who doesn’t need that right now!) to report this time. First of all, on Saturday 9 April we received a message telling us that electricity had been connected to the Project shops in Chipata!!! Cue much rejoicing… It has, of course, been a long wait for the Committee, who had been promised that electricity would arrive “soon” when we last visited the Project in 2018. Since then, poles have been erected, wires have been strung (hopes raised with every action) but there was still a need for a patient wait for that final connection. While they waited, the Committee took the opportunity to renovate the shops, and they now have tenants in 3 of the 4 shop units. One is a hair salon and the other two sell groceries.
Over at the other big project (the student flats near the nursing college), there has also been some marvellous progress. We sent money at the end of March to furnish the third flat, and 5 students were able to move in at the beginning of June. We now have 15 students in the 3 flats and the beginnings of a steady income for the Project in Chipata, which is brilliant news. Also, we’re confident that electricity is going to be connected to the flats any day now!
Then there’s fundraising news following Malcolm’s Steps Challenge. For anyone who didn’t follow his progress on the website, he completed his challenge of walking 10,000 steps every day during Lent to raise money for food for the children and raised a total of £1,556.25. Each young person in the Project received an initial pack of essential foodstuffs and the Committee is keeping a close eye on future need.
Inspired by Malcolm’s challenge, the daughter of one of our trustees decided to do her own Steps Challenge of 10,000 steps a day to help children in Zambia. Issy, aged 9, who lives in Winchester, recorded her steps on her Fitbit and collected donations from her friends and her family, raising £345. As Malcolm discovered, it’s not always easy to fit in 10,000 steps every single day, especially if you’re working or at school, so Issy did an amazing job. You’re a real star, Issy – thanks so much for helping!
And a huge thank you to everyone who supported Malcolm and Issy for your very generous donations.
As Term 2 started in Zambia, Committee members visited schools to meet with the principals and also with the children to talk to them about their problems in school and out of school. One issue that came up at these meetings was that the girls had no money to buy pads for menstruation. Period poverty (the lack of access to safe, hygienic menstrual products due to lack of funds or to the stigma surrounding menstruation in many communities) is a huge issue which can cause girls to miss school (more info in article below):
When St Paul’s Children’s Project Committee heard the girls’ concerns, we decided to send money to buy menstrual pads. We sent this money along with some money to buy warm clothing for the cold season in Zambia. Naomi and Committee members bought bales of jerseys and distributed them to the children. The photo is of Agnes receiving her jerseys.
Committee members then visited schools to distribute menstrual pads to the girls.
Experience has shown us that helping young people with their education is not just about providing fees, uniforms and books. Although these are the priorities, there are other factors affecting attendance and well-being.
And what of our school and college leavers? Well, Grace and Stanley, who successfully completed their Grade 12 exams at the end of 2021, have elected to do skills training at Chipata Trades Training Institute, while John, Febby, Rebecca and Lukas have embarked on teacher training at Sambizya College of Education in Chipata.
Amos and Stasilous have both secured teaching jobs in Lusaka following the latest recruitment round by the Government. Nasilele, who studied journalism and also computer studies, has taken a job teaching computing in a school in Lusangazi district, Eastern Province. David, who completed his maths degree last year, has got a job as a maths teacher at Petauke school (also in Eastern Province). Ideally, he’d like to work as a college lecturer once he has gained teaching experience.
And finally, Matutu, who trained as a nurse, has secured a job at Chipata Central Hospital.
We wish them all lots of luck in their new jobs/college courses. Well done, everyone!
And thanks to all of you for your interest in the Project and for playing a part in changing someone’s life for the better.
Malcolm and Elaine