Friday, 15 May 2009
A different future
Serenje is a district of around 144,000 people and we're working in 4 communities. The first of these is a place called Kashitu. The community only has one primary school and because of this, some children walk 56km to get there. This can be a 5 hour round trip. As it's such a long journey some of them sleep on classroom floors Monday to Friday and go home at the weekends. You can see Simon and Alex (our Project Officer in Serenje) standing in front of 2 of the classrooms. Around 30 girls and 30 boys sleep on the floor of these classrooms. As we walk inside my heart drops. They are empty rooms with cold stone floors. In the boys room there is rubble all over the floors and a old wheelbarrow. There are no beds or anything to indicate that children sleep there. The other photo shows how the toilet blocks have sunk into the ground because of the rain.
We chatted with 2 of the teachers in a small room. There were lots of educational posters on the wall, but I noticed on the wall a hand written chart, with the following columns:
Deaths. One those poignant reminders of how different our worlds are.
This was our first visit of the trip and it was all very sobering.
But then we walked into one classroom and there were 18 young people and children studying. And we are told that these are children we're sponsoring to go to school. I can't stop a massive smile spreading across my face. Most of them are orphans and they had dropped out of school. But now they're having extra lessons to help them catch up. If you were at church on Sunday you'll have seen Simon show this photo of Mapwe who is 15 and is one the young people we're supporting.
There are lots of challenges in Kashitu, but 18 young people are now going to be part of creating a different future for that community and their families.