Report February 2016
There is a lot of progress and positive changes at The Makumbwa “Malezi” Children’s Centre. The visit by two of the Trustees has been a wonderful opportunity to gain firsthand experience to share with us all.
The FOM Sponsorship Programme continues to be extremely well supported and we now also have a number of “Centre Sponsors” whose funds contribute to fundraising projects, upkeep of the house and crops and unexpected costs such as hospital travel for specialist appointments.
Since starting the new school “Ikulwa” last week all the reports of children’s progress have been very positive. The Head Teacher and a staff member have visited Malezi to see the children and talk further with Mary and they have welcomed them all in to their school. Some of the children who were struggling at Rich Hill have already shown huge improvements in such a short time. Their desks are due to be finished being built any day and their uniforms are being made. There are still costs to the children’s education although a “Free” school. Each child has to “buy” their desk which is then built for them and they each have new uniforms. There is a monthly charge for each child. With the fees not being as much as at Rich Hill there is now a small amount of extra money for each child from your sponsor money. Mary has decided to employ a home tutor from the school to provide each child with additional support. And it will also allow Mary to cope with the continual rise in costs to upkeep etc. The children have wonderfully huge appetites and regularly need new clothes as they all continue to grow and thrive. Mary has also enrolled all the children in the National Health Insurance Scheme, which adds to the security and safety of the children.
Mary is always planning for the future of the children and what they will do once they have finished school or if school is not the right “fit” for them what else can they do. Many of the children have experienced such traumatic pasts that school is often not going to be suitable for them. The eldest Malezi child is 14 years old and has just left school after struggling to improve for a number of years. Mary has employed their first practical skills tutor, a tailor, to teach this child tailoring and embroidery. It is vital the children are not only given life skills, but a means of providing for themselves in their future. By providing them with an education, or a skill for future employment Mary is once again giving these children every opportunity to fulfil their potentials.
House improvements are continually being made as funds become available. There was a priority to fit ceiling boards to the house as there were bats living in the roof space. This has now been resolved and Mary has moved on to the next project of installing Solar Power and guttering to the house for water collection. Mary took George and Dee to the Mobisol Showrooms (a German company specialising in low cost solar installations in sub Saharan Africa) where, for £800, she can get 20 ceiling lights, a power point for the computer and mobile charging, plus a free television for the house. This will allow the children to read at night, increase security as it gets darks at 6pm and will increase accessibility to technology.
The saga of the Westfield Well continues but Raymond, Trustee of MMCO and one of Mary’s sons, has put together an excellent proposal for safe water for the house and an irrigation system for the farm. This has been priced at £5000 and he is currently submitting this to a US Development Agency. We very much hope this is successful as water provision continues to be rain water collected in the Jojo Tanks which is then boiled and cooled for drinking.
Transport continues to be an issue with one motorbike being the only mode of transport for the Malezi Centre. This is used for transporting people and goods so is invaluable. It recently needed a lot of money spending on it and the long term goal is still to purchase a 4WD.
The crops this year have been good, and provide supplies for the children and goats continue to provide nutritious milk. Some of the crops failed this year due to the weather, which meant they were unable to make enough to sell as well as use. Mary is hopeful this will occur in the future though.
Photos of this Trustees Trip can be found here