The Saikalo School in Kasama, Zambia, is a busy hub of activity. To meet the needs of the local area, the teachers at the school increased the enrollment of the school from 416 to 461 students and are trying to raise that number to 600. If they achieve that goal every single orphan in the area will be in school!
It is a huge commitment and significant task to serve this many students. There are still just five teachers providing education for 461 orphans! In early June Project HOPE Executive Director Christopher Graves spent a day at the school, meeting with the teachers, spending time in class with the kids and sharing in a typical day. Project HOPE continues in its commitment to provide lunch every day for all at the school which is a big undertaking for the local volunteers who prepare and cook for all these children. In addition, Project HOPE provides resources so that the school can continue to keep up to date with teaching materials, curriculum updates and textbooks so that the school can be accredited.
The needs are huge but the importance of getting all these orphans educated outweighs the challenges. The next big goal is to grow the grades taught from the current Form 4 to Form 7. If this can be achieved then the orphans will be served all the way up to high school age. This would mean another school population increase from 600 to approximately 1,000 but the teachers are committed! The physical school will also have to be increased to accommodate that many students.
Please remember this special school and the wonderful volunteer teachers who serve so many orphans every day. We need help with additional funds to provide for the daily lunches and extra plates and cups for the kids. We also hope to assist with additional teaching resources to support the increased enrollment. Please consider making a gift today!
July’s Calendar of HOPE photograph features one of the orphan students of the Quarry School. On the day the picture was taken in May 2016, 86 students were in class and lunch was being prepared for everyone. It was a typical day at the school. As the photograph captures, students were happy and glad to be getting their education.
Recent days at the school have not been so carefree. Vandals and thugs from the area have targeted the school. The school’s water pump has been damaged beyond repair. The threat of violence has affected many orphans so school attendance has dropped from 86 to 30. School leadership is struggling to regroup to meet the needs of so many orphans that have no other opportunity to attend class.
Project HOPE is working closely with Widows International, our project leaders who run the school, to remedy the situation, get a security wall built and continue providing education for orphans. There is much work to be done. Project HOPE is trying to secure additional funds to solve these issues. It is going to take time to fix everything but local leadership and resources are being lined up to help bring stability to the Quarry School.
Please remember our project leaders and the orphans who attend the school. With your help we can save the Quarry School and ensure vulnerable children are given the hope of a future through education.
Four years in the making, over 100 local people from twelve different churches in Chipata were welcomed to the Family Centre for the start of the Chipata Community Impact Project. The project, aimed at reaching widows and orphans in the compounds surrounding Chipata, started with these people joining for three days of intensive training.
Geoff and Martha Muvumbo, Project HOPE’s partners in Chipata, hosted the gathering. Working with Executive Director Christopher Graves, the Muvumbo’s and the rest of the local leadership team, spent a year assembling the community care teams in preparation for the launch of this five year pilot project. “Geoff and I spent many years gearing up for this significant project” Graves said recently “without this incredible partnership with all the local churches this would not be possible”. The overwhelming numbers of widows and orphans in the nine compounds of Chipata lack any voice or advocate in the community. Hundreds of kids are just existing without school, connection or hope. The Muvumbo’s and Project HOPE knew they had to find a solution to start making an impact in the lives of so many vulnerable people and after much searching the Chipata Community Impact Project came to life.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us” commented Geoff Muvumbo “but Project HOPE and our leadership team, along with the many hands participating as community care teams has ignited a lot of excitement to start reaching the compounds”.
461 students and counting. That is an increase from 412 and another 150 still to be added. The classes are stacked with kids and there are three shifts of classes each day. The same five dedicated teachers volunteer to teach all these orphans. Still they want to add another 150 that would mean every orphan in the area would be in school.
It is a daunting task but the teachers are determined. The feeding program is still humming along but more plates, spoons and cups need to be added to meet the numbers and the rising cost of food in Zambia has put pressure on keeping up.
The joy at this school is infectious and children are doing very well in their studies. The commitment of the teachers continues to be a huge encouragement. There is much work to be done and we need resources to meet all the needs but the Saikalo School is caring for orphans and providing excellent education.