Violet Simalonda is an incredible individual. At 80, with cataracts and a bad leg, she still manages to fiercely advocate for the Quarry School. For years this widow, Project HOPE’s partner in Lusaka, Zambia, has made sure the orphans at the school have a teacher and food every day.
Despite many harsh setbacks – local thugs stealing, looting and breaking everything in sight at the school, to the illegal squatters taking over much of the school lands – Violet has banged down doors at City Hall, stood in long lines at the Ministry of Lands and finally, after more than ten years trying to secure the deed for the land, is seeing light at the end of this very long tunnel.
Violet’s tireless passion for her students has created an oasis in the midst of absolute poverty and hopelessness. We are anticipating big things in 2020 for the Quarry School. Stay tuned for more updates and please consider helping us support Violet’s work at the school.
For many years, the Quarry School has provided an oasis for orphans. In the Foxdale district of Lusaka, in what was the outskirts of the city, time has seen the capital grow and the school is now surrounded by population. What was once five hectares of open school grounds is now just barely a quarter of that as the encroachment of unsanctioned building has decimated the property.
Along with the advancing wave of development has come added negative pressure of crime as the school suffers the cruel attention of thieves. Without a wall to protect the school, its water system, classrooms and kitchen are a constant target for those who seek any items of value. More difficult still are those that just break anything to make life at the school harder.
Through it all two tiny classrooms for over 100 orphans continue classes each day. Two dedicated teachers provide quality education for class sizes that would overwhelm any North American teacher. The primary class, with children aged 4 to 7, is a busy hub of every subject from math to English. On this particular day, the other classroom, packed with over 50 students, see those 8 to 13 learning science and geography.
The young orphan featured this month is intently paying attention as class is in session. Her serious demeanor underscores her desire to learn everything she can. Even at this young age she knows education is critical for her future.
At lunchtime, a simple meal is provided to every student. As orphans, none have a packed lunch. They have no money to buy food. Project HOPE provides funding for school volunteers to prepare food each day.
Project HOPE in 2020 is focused on providing funding to build a wall around the school. Securing the school, its water system and kitchen, is critical to helping to keep this necessary community resource alive. The project is not going to be easy or inexpensive but once complete, orphans will have a stable environment as a foundation to build their sustainable futures filled with hope. We need your help… please consider making a gift to our campaign to raise funds for this construction project.
January 2020 has arrived with mostly mild winter action and gradually longer days. While February and March may be still ominously on the horizon, Spring will surely come and for the Winter enthusiasts, what could be better than hockey, skiing and enjoying the crisp temperatures and of course, more hockey.
The new year has also launched the 2020 Calendar of HOPE. While much of the world has moved off the old paper version of watching the days of the month roll by, our calendar has continued to be a popular item. This month’s photograph features several of our widows spending the afternoon with Project HOPE Executive Director Christopher Graves in their village. After much singing and light conversation, the discussion turned more serious as the widows shared the hardships they endure each day. The request also was made for warm blankets to make getting through bitter cold nights easier. Graves took that request back home to Canada and soon wool blankets were winging their way to Zambia to answer that need.
Life in the village is hard but the widows’ kindness, sense of community and genuine hospitality make it an amazing place to visit. The women wanted to be remembered to their Project HOPE family and send their thanks for all the care and support. If you would like to help us continue to provide wool blankets, simply donate today and a widow will feel the warmth of your gift!
We were thrilled to be able to provide funds for the team at Nyangombe to host widows and orphans for a special Christmas celebration. We were additionally surprised and grateful to receive a video of the gathering. Click on the link below to view the special day. Thanks to our donors who helped make this event possible. Widows and orphans were able to experience a bit of Christmas joy and hope.