Sunday, 27 May 2012

Amazing Patricia

I love getting stories from Serenje of amazing individuals who are being impacted by the support they are receiving and are transforming their lives. Patricia is 16 years-old and has been supported by the project since its inception in 2008. She is the only girl in the family of 6. Patricia’s dad died in 1996 when she was only 6 months old leaving her a single orphan. Her mother is 43 years and a peasant farmer who has benefited from the project food security support. She was only 27 years old when her first husband died. She remarried and had the two sons who are in grade 3 but the husband left because he could not accept responsibility of supporting 4 children from another man. Patricia came onto the EFZ educational support when she was in grade 6 at Kankoso Basic School which is near her village. She was hard working and noticed by her head teacher who had this to say, “Patricia is an amazing girl who is so determined and ever ready to do any piece work to buy school books and pens. She is focused even though she is an orphan and has been coming out number 1 in class. When she sat for grade 7 examinations, she got the highest marks in the whole district of Serenje which was (825 marks out of 1,000). She was recommended by the District Education Board to go to a boarding school within Central Province but she did not have finances to quickly send her acceptance letter and by the time EFZ got the news, it was late even though we still pursued the opportunity for her to be in a boarding facility. Patricia’s option was to go to a local Basic school where she passed grade 9 and was accepted at a High School within Serenje town. Her grade 9 results were again exceptional as she was among pupils with the highest marks in the District. Due to her good academic performance in school, one of her former teachers sacrificed to stay with her in the township near to the High School (Ibolelo Secondary School who Garth Hill College is partnered with). Patricia is very clear about her future goal, which is to be a medical Doctor so that she can help sick people. She is thankful for all that the project has contributed towards her education as well as her mother for the agric inputs support for food security and household income. Her mother also received two goats to facilitate educational needs of her children. Patricia is proud of her hard working mother and always goes to her village during holidays to help her. What an incredible reminder of the lives that are being changed, one by one, in Serenje. Let's be praying for Patricia and her family, and many like her, who are doing all they can to build a different future.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Dormitory update

If you receive Simon's blog or were at the Prayer Meetings this week you have had an update from Simon on the girl's dormitory in Serenje. Here is the latest information: • The plan is to start building work in August, ready for the girls to be in in January 2013 for the new school year • Zambian architects are now working on Ralph’s initial drawings, ready to submit for local planning consent by the end of June • At the same time EFZ are starting the process of choosing a contractor, to be appointed by the end of June • They prefer to use local Serenje builders if possible – that will give work to local people, and give the local community even more ownership of the dormitory • The whole building process will be checked by inspectors throughout • EFZ are committed to a high standard of child protection and anti-drugs policies, in building and running the dormitory • Matrons, guards and cleaners will be hired by EFZ, to run the dormitory • Serenje pastors and their wives will give the girls pastoral care once they are in the dormitory • The girls will raise chickens and pigs on some of the land, and grow vegetables – both to generate income for running the dormitory and to teach the girls environmentally friendly farming • EFZ are assessing what fees to charge the girls and how to ensure that even the poorest can use the dormitory • Boys aren’t forgotten – there will be a programme to explain to them and their families why only the girls have a dormitory • EFZ plan to set up a regional office for the Northern Province, where Serenje is located (about 400km from Lusaka and the main EFZ offices) – and a key role will be to oversee the dormitory Let's keep praying that it is all up and running by January 2013. And thanks again to everyone who has given to make the dream of building the dormitory a reality. If you have any questions then plase ask either Simon, Penny Lander who is overseeing the project or myself. Thanks Zoe