FCTrelief president Heiner Merk and project manager Chris Merk have been in Zambia again last month, accompanied by Erich Vracko and Gordon Merk. It was an important and successful time! Here’s an overview of the most important things:
A Future through Education
Our educational programme is showing good results! All the pupils that come to us passed their grades last year. The improvements in school are a delight to everyone. Our investment into the education of these wonderful children, teenagers and young adults is a great success and is their way into a better future. Through better education they will have the chance to work and lift themselves out of poverty and eventually provide a better life for their own children.
The support for those pupils who have finished 12th grade and are now pursuing further and higher education is showing encouraging results, too. Priscilla and Esnart are successful in their nursing, so are Alex and Gift in their medical studies, with Isaac and Leonard in their first year, as well as Memory (Pharma) and Martha (administration) at Evelyn Hone College. 5 students are in the Copperbelt studying to be mechanics, Benson is studying agriculture while Gize (brick laying) and Febian (agriculture) are being equipped for a year at Chikupi Institute, the place we visited last year.
It was touching when Edward’s father came to thank us: ‘I am so grateful for everything FCT has done for my son.’ Edward’s father is educated and studied agriculture. He knows the old Zambia after its independence (1964), a country that at the time was a middle-income nation. He also witnessed the economic decline since the second half of the 1970s. Yet now he sees a real chance for his son to have a better a future and an improved Zambia in the years to come.
Another, rather interesting encounter was a chat with a Swede who has been living in Zambia for the last fifteen years. Heiner and Chris have known Pelle for some time now and he got to know our charitable work very well when he erected the buildings on our plot. He is delighted with our efforts and sees a real perspective for the future for our children. In his chat with Gordon, he asked how we are helping people get out of poverty. He responded positively to the explanation that we invest into individuals, primarily through education. From his observations, he stated with conviction that the greatest success stories are found where people who have a heart for others invest on a small scale into people. This was an encouraging confirmation for our work: ‘People with a heart are moving things.’
We are also eager to move things through our farm. Stephanus Kok and his father Andreas from South Africa have taken over the farm management and started building an alternative form of agriculture. Their emphasis is on organic farming and they are seeking to avoid using chemical fertilizer through natural compost. In the near future, chickens should also become part of our ‘work force,’ that is, they shall contribute towards the compost… and fulfil other functions.
Our vision that the foundation should benefit from the profits of the farm is also part of what Stephanus and Andreas are carrying in their heart. They are passionate farmers, Andreas with years of experience, with a heart for people. The farm should eventually also become a model for alternative farming in Zambia, yet for now it should produce healthy vegetables for our pupils’ and staff meals. Our head cook is delighted.
Our cooks are also happy with an important change in the kitchen: we are no longer cooking with charcoal but with gas. This has several advantages. Firstly, the health of the cooks who are no longer passively breathing in the smoke; secondly, it’s better for the environment and thirdly it’s quite a bit cheaper. With such changes we are seeking to constantly improve our work and set an example.
On their second trip to Zambia, Erich and Gordon have seen the positive changes since their last visit. Their experience in Zambia with our charitable work and its wonderful people was once again good and encouraging for them. They are delighted that they could be of help. Many ‘childhood memories’ were awakened in Erich who grew up in Venezuela. His encounters in Zambia left ‘many good impressions’ in him. He is looking forward to his next visit to beautiful southern Africa.
With Gratitude into the Future
We are moving into the future with gratitude and want to thank all of you who are supporting us. Together we are working for a better future with a heart for people.