When I left Chitemo in 2008 I took a picture of the orphans under that tree and it has remained on my laptop as a screensaver and in my heart. After much thought and discussion with the villagers of Chitemo and Nyhinila I felt I had to do something for them. I believe that if they are to have a future it will be through education. Education will hopefully give them the skills that will enable them to move forward in their lives and contribute to their communities, moving them out of poverty and dependency. At 7 the children attend government school which may have 100 children to a class with one teacher and no other facilities other than a blackboard. If the children have the opportunity of developing the basics in the three R’s between the ages of 3 and 7 years of age they will hopefully be in a stronger position to deal with the challenges of their next school. The pre-school will also be used on Saturdays by the community for various activities such as developing craft skills, mother and baby groups, scout and guide groups for older children, the opportunities are endless.
The story so far as at November 2017
S chooling – Due to the number of children attending both schools the teachers’ offices have been turned into classrooms for the youngest children, with benches and wall blackboards.
Outdoor equipment, swings, slides, roundabouts and seesaws have been added to both schools to cope with the large number of children attending the schools. While some are in the classroom being taught, others can now enjoy outdoor activities.
The teaching has proved to be of a high standard and the children are well equipped with reading, writing, sums, Swahili and English when they move to government schools at the age of 7.
Education – Two women, one from each village, have now been trained as pre-school teachers. They are sharing their skills with other volunteers in the villages and we plan to train two more teachers in the near future.
Empowerment – This project would not be a success unless the villagers themselves take ownership and responsibility of the developments. They have, therefore, learnt how to set up and work in committees, open, use and manage bank accounts and have provided regular detailed reports with development updates.
Development – Water is now available for the village of Nyhinila, providing this life necessity. With huge thanks to our trustee Rev Nicky Teversen, who raised the majority of funds required. SEEDS have also donated to date 600 mosquito nets to help protect the most vulnerable young children from the dangers of Malaria.
Sustainbility – The future. Our projects must be able to be managed and financed by the villages themselves. The next and final stage for SEEDS is for us to provide the villages with chickens, goats, pigs and cows and educate them on how to rear their animals to maximum productivity. These animals will then provide the finance needed to maintain the running of the schools, pay the teachers and also provide fresh milk for the children.
Water The bore-hole at Nyhinila has caused some problems in maintenance but is now supplying much needed water and the funds paid to draw water are used for the maintenance of the bore-hole equipment.
Future The villages have taken ownership of the projects but the time has come for them to take on the financial responsibilities which at present are still being supported by SEEDS.
It was decided that by breeding piglets the villages would earn the finances required to maintain the schools and pay the teachers.
Five villagers have been trained in animal husbandry, 4 males, 1 female, specifically in pig breeding. Fully equipped pigsties have been built in each village, 1 years pig food has been provided and to begin 2 sows and 1 boar for each village. A qualified vet, Yohana Ngoso, has been employed to manage the project until it is felt that those looking after the pigs are comfortable in their role.
SEEDS will continue to fund the schools and pig project until 2020 when it is hoped that the villages will have accumulated sufficient funds and, together with the continuation of piglet sales, become self-supporting and independent.