Schools finished on 4th December, so we had 2 weeks of workshops – 5 full days with lunches – for all the 90 pupils, including the 9 from George Compound who came daily by bus and those on the waiting list for next year’s selection. As the children had missed 5 months of schooling this year, it was important to keep them busy for these 2 weeks, as well as doing lots of fun and sports activities. The teachers report. The workshop was a great success as most pupils participated actively and showed enthusiasm for both indoor and outdoor activities. On the first day, pupils received a towel for showering and were thankful. This time the teachers decided to involve the pupils in presentations and group discussions. The pupils exceeded our expectations with the quality of their work. Everyone participated actively, even the little ones and the way the pupils expressed themselves during the workshops was impressive. Many are naturally shy and lack self-esteem but this showed how the pupils are developing and growing more confident through increased attention, care and education. Further, pupils have developed their communication skills, writes Maths teacher Lazarous.
Having lunches on a daily basis brought great joy to the pupils and will do so next year with 5 meals a week, which we are sure will improve their health and concentration.
Christmas presents and celebration
During the second week, each family/guardian of our pupils was given a food package as a Christmas gift which was greatly appreciated. The new pupils who join the programme in January came to the workshops and seeing them settle in well and feel comfortable with their peers, joining in eagerly with the activities, was a joy for the teachers to watch. “On the last day we had a Christmas celebration where the pupils performed in different activities like dancing, singing, acting, and they watched a Christmas nativity film, which the children all enjoyed. We had a special meal as part of the Christmas celebration and it was wonderful.” writes Racheal, our English teacher.
“Many thanks to everyone who gave Christmas donations so that the pupils can have 5 meals every week next year” writes our Head teacher Eugene. The children cheered in delight when they were told about this, as well as the teachers and cooks, who also get 5 meals as of January.
Wage increase, apprenticeship completion and school supplies
Due to the rapidly increasing cost of living in Zambia, we have given our teachers a salary increment as of January. They are doing a great job and work well together as a team for the benefit of the children we are helping. They see this job as a calling not just employment and have a great heart for the children in their care. They really appreciate their salary raise as do the cooks who can now work 5 days a week.
The 4 young people who did a year’s skills’ training have now completed and we will help them with some tools for the 2 boys and sewing machines for the 2 girls, so that they can start working or find employment. The next 4 candidates are now enrolled for 2021 and are thrilled to have this opportunity for a better future. We have equipped them with all they need to start and will give them food and other requirements monthly while we monitor their progress. This scheme is proving a great success for those who cannot complete their schooling.
We will buy uniforms and shoes, plus school books for all the pupils in January, the cost of which has also risen. School and exam fees are also usually paid in February for the year. Food prices have increased but we are confident that with the generous Christmas donations and our faithful sponsors during the year, we will be able to meet our needs for this important and valuable work we are doing in Zambia.