Hello to all my friends in RaLET,
I returned from my trip to Zambia at the end of July and wanted to fill you in on how I got on.
Firstly I have to say that it was a real eye opener for me! I had completely underestimated the level of poverty of the families that Zamda Ireland (this is the charity that I volunteered with) are working with in Kabwe. Families here have absolutely nothing! Zamda have set up a school and shelter for extremely poor children who live in the township of Makalulu. This is an absolutely huge shanty town in Kabwe where most of the children do not get a chance of any schooling. In Zambia all schools are fee paying so if you can’t pay then you can’t go to school. Sables Nua is the only free school in Kabwe and it offers education and food and clothing to approximately 230 of the poorest children in the township. They also have a shelter for 20 homeless boys.
In the school the children learn subjects like Bemba (their own language), English, Maths, Science and Social Studies. In the afternoon they learn woodwork, cooking, sewing, crafts and take part in lots of sports activities and games. I noticed that many children stayed around the school late into the evening as it was such a safe, happy place to be.
The children are amazing – I never once heard them complain even though all of them go home to the most deprived families you could ever imagine.
I’ve put some photos of Sables Nua on the school website. One photo shows a pupil’s family outside his home in Makalulu. The boy in the yellow polo shirt is a pupil in Sables Nua. He’s the lucky one – his sisters and brothers in the photo have no school to go to. I have to tell you that I was quite unprepared for the extent of the difficulties that these families face living in the most basic huts with no water and just a small open fire to cook on. They have to walk about a mile to get water and they have to pay for it! We really don’t know how lucky we are in Ireland!
On a positive note I would like to thank you all so much for all your donations of money, clothing, footwear and jewellery. I can tell you that every single bit of it was very much appreciated. I brought out 60 Kg of clothing, footwear and sport’s equipment and it was all thanks to RaLET parents. I also donated €550 in cash to Zamda on your behalf and I can guarantee you that every cent will be put to excellent use to help these families. I’ve also attached a photo of a boy discarding his old shoes for a new pair of runners – many kids walked several hours to school each day with no shoes! Many thanks for all the lovely runners you donated.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this charity you can check them out on Facebook – Zamda Ireland (you might even see pics of me there!!)
Finally as I finish up in RaLET next week, I would like to say a huge thank you to you all for your support and friendship over the years. I will miss the children, staff and parents of RaLET hugely but I will follow your progress and adventures with great enthusiasm. I hope to be invited back to see the new school building when it’s finished!
Wishing you all the very best for the new school year.