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  • StPaulsChildren

February 2021

Hello from our corner of the world where we’re just emerging from winter! Hope everyone’s doing OK in the face of the astonishing events we’re experiencing worldwide.

Two of our young people are very involved in Zambia’s health service - Wilson (below right),

who’s now in his first year as a hospital doctor in Zambia’s Western Province, and Matutu (below), who’s in her final year of a three year nursing course at St Francis Hospital, Katete.

We’re thinking about them a lot – and, of course, about Naomi, our Committee chair, who’s working as a nurse in Chipata Central Hospital.

We’re very much hoping that international initiatives to get vaccines to countries who don’t have supplies will speedily bear fruit – and that everyone in Zambia can benefit from the same protection we’re getting here in the UK.

We’re very sad to tell you that Ruth, who underwent heart surgery in 2016 and had a pacemaker inserted in May 2020, collapsed at home and died on 29 September. It was shocking news as Ruth had her 21st birthday just two weeks before this and had sent photos and thanks for all the support she’d received from the Project. She was buried in her village on 1 October, attended by members of the Committee.

We can’t thank you enough for your incredible support and generosity (in difficult times) during the past year, which has allowed us to keep supporting 36 children and young adults in Zambia.

We were concerned about the disruption to their education that students would suffer as a result of the pandemic. It’s hard for children to get back to school if they’ve been out for a long time, especially the most vulnerable (who are at risk of child marriage, early pregnancy and child labour). Luckily, schools were able to open in September for Term 3 2020 and exams went ahead at the end of term.

As for the 2021 academic year, schools reopened on 1 February (postponed for two weeks to allow them to put in place health measures to prepare for a safe reopening). The Project Committee bought a mask and hand sanitiser for each child.

We’re glad to report that Kenka, Vera, John and Mischek were able to finish their teacher training courses and have now left the Project (with our good wishes for the future). But (in an academic year unlike any other!) school results were, understandably, delayed. The Grade 7 results are out now and we’re delighted that Margaret, Lucy, Jessy, Maxwell, Jerad and Ethen have all passed! They’ll start in Grade 8 (some at new schools) as soon as they have their acceptance letters. Also waiting to start are 5 children who are new to the Project this year, 2 of whom are going into Grade 8 and 3 into Grade 10. They’re not yet enrolled but we’ll put details and photos on the website as soon as we have them.

Our school leavers, Alice and Grace, are awaiting Grade 12 results, which should be out by the middle of March.

Meanwhile the Committee in Chipata came up with a proposal for a building project. They approached a nursing college with a plan to build three flats to let out to 6 students. The Project trustees in the UK gave them the go-ahead and (because the exchange rate with Zambia has been incredibly favourable this year) we were able to provide funds to help secure a plot and start construction work. They’ve already made amazing progress (even in the rainy season!) – they’re now roofing!

We think it’ll be an excellent move towards the Project Committee’s ultimate goal of self-sustainability.

The shops owned by the Project are still(!) waiting for electricity, but the good news is that poles were delivered in October and have now been erected. Definitely a step forward!!

In other good news, we hear that Sam, one of the original 10 children when the Project was set up in 2006, has recently graduated with a master’s degree and is also getting married on 6 March. He’s marrying a fellow accountant, who works for the Ministry of Education, and they’ll live in Lusaka.

We thought that this time we’d single out our regular donors for special thanks. These wonderful people donate every month and everyone gives a different amount, but whether it’s £5 or £40, it’s helping us plan, providing stability for the Project and making such a difference. If you’d like to join our regular givers (now numbering 17), you can either donate via this website (where you can make either a one-off donation or regular payments) or contact us for details of the Project bank account.

Through education, children and young people are getting the knowledge, confidence and self-esteem to transform their lives – so a massive thank you to everyone who supports us in any way.

Malcolm and Elaine

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