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  • StPaulsChildren

February 2019

Hi! As we’re all in the depths of winter and political turmoil in the UK, we’re hoping to bring you some Zambian sunshine as we tell you what’s been happening lately with the Project.

2019 got off to a celebratory start for our students when Naomi held a New Year’s Day party for them at her house, with music, dancing (of course!) and food.

The Committee then worked hard to get everyone fixed up with uniforms and school materials before term started on 14 January. This academic year we’ve been able to welcome four new young people to the Project, as we say goodbye to our college leavers Ackim, James, Aaron and Maureen. We wish them all the best as they wait for the next round of teacher recruitment and to find out where they’ll be placed.

2019 is going to be an exciting year for Willson as, in July, he’ll graduate from university where he’s studying medicine and will then go into his 7th year of training (as an intern). He’s planning to specialise in surgery so will have to work in either the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka or in Ndola initially. We understand he’ll be an intern for a year before becoming fully qualified as a doctor in 2020. How exciting for us too! – and a reminder of what can be achieved with your help and with the Committee’s energy, commitment and dedication to the young people in their community.

As mentioned in our last update, the Committee were keen to get started on their long term sustainability plans by drilling a borehole on the site of the shops. With a generous donation from a friend, we were able to send the money for this and in December they managed to organise the installation of a borehole and hand pump (we’re still waiting for electricity!) before the rainy season began in earnest, so they now have their own independent water source (a huge boon in Zambia) and are keen to start their car wash (as soon as electricity is connected…).

The four new students this year are all starting school in Grade 10. Secondary school in Zambia starts with Grade 8 and pupils sit the (all-important) Grade 9 exams at the end of the first two years (sort of junior secondary exams). Children often change schools after Grade 9 and their results determine what offers they get. Naomi sent us this photo of Stanely, who joined the Project in 2018 in Grade 9, with his acceptance for Grade 10 from Anoya Zulu Secondary School. Well done Stanely!

As we’ve mentioned before, many young people in Zambia are forced to stop attending school at some point because of family circumstances and they feel themselves very fortunate indeed if they’re able to resume, even as adults. Our first new student this year is Lucas Banda and he’s 21 years old. Lucas was living with his sister until she died in 2013 when he was taken from his village to live with his uncle in Chipata. Lucas had to stop going to school for a while (his uncle was already looking after 6 children who were living with him and, despite doing bicycle deliveries to make money, found it hard to make ends meet) but restarted in 2016 in Grade 7. Social welfare contacted St Paul’s Children’s Project for help for Lucas (who’s now passed his Grade 9 exams), whose need for help was confirmed by his new headmaster at Kanjala Day Secondary School.

John Phiri, aged 17, has also passed his Grade 9 exams and his headteacher asked for help so that John could go into Grade 10. John was born with HIV (his mother and father are both HIV positive and on treatment) and is on HIV medication. John’s father, a mechanic, has been unable to continue in employment (although he survives by doing car repairs) and his mother sells some vegetables and charcoal from home. John’s just started in Grade 10 at Anoya Secondary School.

And then we have two new girls, both referred through social welfare. Febby Nkhuwa is the third of 5 children. Her mother is a widow who sells charcoal at home but is unable to pay school fees. Rabecca Nyirenda lives with her mother (her father left in 2013 and can’t be located), who works as a house maid (for a low wage) and cannot pay school fees for her 4 children. Both Febby and Rabecca have started in Grade 10 at Kanjala Day Secondary School.

In other school news, Amos, Nasilele and Stasilous have all passed their Grade 12 exams (brilliant!) and are looking forward to going to college.

Nelson Mandela once said:

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

He’s right – and it’s amazing to see what the Project can help young people to achieve!

Thank you for all your donations, large and small, which enable us to carry on giving them opportunities and hope. It costs only about £24 to keep someone in primary school for a year.

We now have 16 wonderful people who make a monthly donation to the Project, which helps us to plan ahead. Please get in touch if you’d like to join them.

And so to fundraising! Malcolm and Elaine have decided (rashly?) to walk the 97 miles of St Oswald’s Way, a long distance footpath (often described as a ‘pilgrimage’), in May. We’ll start from Holy Island off the coast of north Northumberland and finish (knees permitting…) in Heavenfield near Hadrian’s Wall (site of the Battle of Heavenfield fought by St Oswald in AD 634). We’ll let you know when we open our fundraising page.

If anyone out there has their own fundraising ideas, let us know!

A huge thank you once again for your support!

Malcolm and Elaine

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