Back to Simakakata

January 4 2011

I'll be making a fool of myself in a bigger classroom

Here’s the post I’ve written for LearnAsOne explaining the next few days.

“Season’s greetings and a happy new year. For those of our supporters who’ve been stuck in northern Europe’s coldest winter for decades, my commiserations. I’ve been away in South Africa visiting relatives for the festive period, and have been slowly baking away in a hot, muggy climate for the last couple of weeks.

“I will atone for my good fortune, though. Since I’m in this part of the world anyway, I couldn’t resist treating myself to an extra present – a plane ticket to Zambia and a journey to visit our friends at Simakakata.

“It’s been nearly 19 months since Steve, Nerys, Brenda and I first went to see George and his staff at Simakakata Community School, which is just outside the historical capital of Zambia, Kalomo. Then, over 200 children were receiving a basic education in a derelict farmhouse. They had no access to clean water on site, little in the way of classroom furniture and got by largely thanks to the dedication and passion of their teachers.

“New term begins

“I can’t wait to be there when term starts on 9th January. I’ve spoken to George by phone several times over the last year and a half, so I know that thanks to funding from LearnAsOne and Care International a new schoolhouse has been builtand is slowly being equipped up to standard. I know local government has begun work on a borehole for the site, and that several new members of staff have joined George, Sonia and Edwin.

“Thanks to supporters of LearnAsOne, who have read, watched and listened to the community telling us what they want, rather than simply sending what we think they need, the people of Simakakata have started on an exciting journey of development. Their children will receive a proper, high standard education from which the whole community will reap the economic benefits. With just a little bit more help from us, and you, this chapter in their history will be finished and they’ll be well on the way to self-sustainable development for the future.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting George and his team again, and finding out how much has changed and what still needs to be done. There will be lessons for all of us to learn from the work of the last 19 months and, as ever, I’ll be posting updates with photos throughout my trip and when I get back to the UK later in January.”

Which I think says it all.

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