October 2017 has arrived and as we anticipate a busy month filled with all that Fall scheduling brings, we are pleased to present the story behind this month’s Calendar of HOPE photograph. The young boy in the picture is the ‘grandson’ of our widow in Kasama, Louisa. Her ‘grandson’ is actually the son of one of the first orphans that Louisa took in many years ago with his three brothers. All this time later and that same orphan has stayed to help Louisa around her farm and now has a young family of his own.
This youngster lacks many physical comforts that an affluent life affords but he does not suffer the absence or care of a family. His ‘grandma’ dotes on him constantly despite her advanced age and his father works hard every day to ensure there is a bit of food on the table for dinner. It is not an easy life but this young man will hopefully go to school when he is old enough. While Project HOPE funded his dad’s school fees this young man has a father who is present and making his future secure.
While these stories are few and far between we are grateful for the wonderful gift Louisa has provided many orphans and widows over the years, giving them shelter and what resources she has to share. She has asked nothing in return but unconditionally has opened her home and heart to those less fortunate than herself. Mind you, Louisa has very little to give but she certainly shares everything from food, shelter, clothing and any security her little farm has to offer.
In May we celebrated Louisa’s 90th birthday with cake, candles and her ‘family’ of orphans who have benefited from her care. What an amazing afternoon to share with that extended community of people who have taken help from Project HOPE and magnified its impact exponentially. We are planning for Louisa’s 91st birthday which she says she is not going to see but we constantly remind her that she will never be forgotten!
The Quarry School is an amazing oasis in the middle of a very challenging part of Lusaka, Zambia. Amidst the busy bustling makeshift roads of the local area, the school is a haven for orphans who have no other educational option. Project HOPE’s partner, Widows International, has been hosting vulnerable children at this one room school, providing daily lunches and the best teaching they can manage with one teacher serving eighty students on any given day.
Other the years Project HOPE donations added a well and pump to make clean drinking water available. Things were looking bright for the school until vandals and thugs started targeting the school and property. First, the pump was broken then anything of value stolen. Next the thugs were emboldened and stood in the road daily, threatening violence to any orphans who came near the school. The widows, mostly in their seventies, were powerless against the tide of cruelty. Local authorities were called in and the widows had to prove their title to the land and school.
The process began to secure their rightful claim to the land. Project HOPE assisted with navigating legal and bureaucratic maze to have a new survey and achieve clear title of the land. With the deed, a wall can be constructed around the school to secure the school and safety of the orphans who attend. The long process is almost complete and the next phase, financing and building the wall, will commence.
It has been an incredible journey that is not yet done but the faithfulness of the widows who have kept the school operating, the orphans who show up despite the threats and the teacher who keeps the teaching the lessons demonstrate the commitment to working toward hope.
Just as this young student’s smile in this month’s photograph captures, these children matter and Project HOPE wants to continue to honour their commitment to learning by securing the Quarry School. If you can help with a donation for the ongoing feeding program, provide a gift for the new wall and most of all, remembering our friends each day as they struggle, your kindness would be most appreciated!
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.