Finally, we feel it’s safe to travel to Zambia again. Our last visit was in October 2019 – the planned visit for late March 2020 had to be cancelled due to Covid, of course. Since then we have been in regular close contact with the team in Linda, who have done a great job keeping the project going, despite two lockdowns and all that it entailed. A great deal has happened in the past 2 ½ years and we know our trip will be a bit different this time.
Last year 21 pupils completed their schooling up to grade 12 and most of those have found places for further education which we will discuss during our visit, as they will need a study loan plus expenses from FCTrelief to be able to realise their dreams.
FCTrelief has been a blessing to many – not just all the children, usually about 85 in the programme per year, some of whom have been with us since 2014, like many who completed last December, but also the staff of teachers, cooks and caretaker and part-time workers, plus the families of the pupils who also benefit and those we have helped to further their education.
When we and other friends visit FCTrelief in Zambia, we always take as much extra luggage as possible for the children and staff. We take books, good second-hand clothes we have collected, toothbrushes & toothpaste, and whatever else has been donated that is needed there and can be transported. These items are then handed out to the pupils, families and staff who are always very grateful.
Since our last visit, there have been 3 intakes of new pupils in January ’20, ’21 and ’22, so we have a lot of new faces to put to the names on the pupils’ list when we meet them. We will also meet our new maths teacher and some of the young people we have helped with study loans during this time, as well as those who have completed their courses. It will be good to see all the staff again, see the new and largest building which we use daily for tuitions and youth meetings twice a month on a Saturday morning as it was only half finished in October 2019. Other smaller building projects or additions are also new so it will be interesting to see these and update on all that has happened in the meantime.
There are some Zambian friends who have been involved in the work at FCTrelief in some way to meet up with and we are looking forward to seeing everyone again and catching up with them. It will be a very full 12 days and very important to see things first hand. The 2-week school holiday began on 22nd April, so everyone is on holiday this week and we will have a week of workshops during the second week which gives us the chance to see all the children, including the 12 pupils who live in George Compound on the other side of Lusaka. Schools re-open on 9th May so we will see the pupils back in their routine of half day school and half day tuitions at FCTrelief.
We will take plenty of photos to show to those who support our work in Zambia and write a report of all we have seen and done and how the project is progressing.
Zambia here we come!