I must apologise for the lack of blogs recently. There has been lots of work happening behind the scenes though! We're producing an updated Serenje booklet and film, which will both be ready for the Serenje Gift Days and will highlight what has been achieved so far. 55 of our women have become part of Unique Serenje Penpals and are going to writing to women in Serenje and blessing them with love and prayers. Ruth Jackson's school, Crowthorne C of E Primary School and Amanda Wolfram's school, Hammond Community Junior School, are both fundraising for Serenje and Helen Cottee recently visited both schools to do assemblies about Serenje.
As you know a team of 8 of us visited Serenje in the summer and were deeply impacted by what we saw. Pip Reeves (pictured here), who is a student at Oxford university, was part of our team and she shares some reflections on the trip.
'There were two stories which impacted me especially during my time in Serenje. The first of these was when we visited a child headed family. Naomi, the eldest, had left school in order to be 'mum' to her younger brothers and sisters (two of them pictured here with Helen). The youngest of these was 11 months old although she was so small she looked much younger. They had very little food and slept in a small concrete room which got very cold at night, particularly during their winter. Because of our visit Leah met with the team of pastors in Zambia and is hoping to find Naomi and her family a home closer to the pastors so they can be looked after more easily.
The second of these was a boy we met who had been orphaned when he was young and so he began to make bricks to sell. He got himself through his entire education by making these bricks and now employs two people. This showed me that many of the people in Serenje really want to help themselves, and we can really help by facilitating this. On the trip we were able to hear many really encouraging stories about the work Kerith is doing in Serenje, but we also saw that there is a huge amount which still needs to be done.'
Going and seeing what is happening in Serenje is both immensely encouraging but also very challenging because the need is great. As we head towards the Gift Days this November 15th and 22nd we're aiming to raise another £100,000 to impact children like Naomi and her brothers and sisters. Please join me in praying for the Gift Days and for Naomi and the many child-headed households she represents.