Two Trustees return

Empowering Disabled Monze Southern Province Zambia.  Self-help women employment

 

We have safely returned from our R and R in Livingstone. Returning to a full house - no power, no water, no internet! We enjoyed our down time knowing there would be no one around in Monze and little or nothing to do except our laundry. We were typical tourists, taking in the wonderful sight of Victoria Falls and sailing tbe great Zambeze River where we spotted elephants, crocodiles and hippos. We retur ed on the last bus on Sunday and after a 4 hour trip on a coach we arrived in Monze at 20.45 and were ready for an early night. The passengers we left behind on the bus, heading towards Lusaka, were going nowhere. The driver told them it was too late to go further and they would restart the journey about 5.30am. Unbelievable. On second thoughts no, believable. It is now Monday and we only have until Wednesday after lunch to finish our monitoring and gathering stories with photos. This morning we started to gather the potential number of girls in Monze schools who would benefit from Menstrual Hygiene Training and receiving washable pads. We estimate it to be about 800 per yearand this would constitute a good pilot for the programme, building on the early introduction in some schools. We now have costings and will bring all this together and seek funding. If tbe pilot is proven successful we will seek further funding to expand the reach.

We also sat in on some of the interviews Jonah (Disabilty Affairs) has each day, speaking and listening to people who have come for help. This process enables HHZ to identify needs and to prioritise them so he has enough information to inform HHI and ask for funding in his monthly report. Of course some cases are urgent and can’t wait for the monthly cycle. Jonah will get the funds for urgent cases but of course when HHI people visit we have come with some funds of our own or from donations given by people in UK when they here we are coming.

Lenedy and her son Keegan. She is blind, Keegan is severely visually impaired and her two other children are blind too (they are supported by another charity). Keegan is in Grade 5 at Nanga school and needs medicines which we paid for. As part of our monitoring we have requested a review of the children we help with school fees to determine who are nearing their leaving age. It is important to note that the education system here is age specific like in UK but with anomalies, some children are older for their Grade because either they are late in starting school or are slow to learn. This means for example, we can be supporting a teenager in their equivalent to Year 4 or 5.When HHZ have completed this review we can see if we have enough funds to help Keegan with his education.

Christer and her son Goodlas who is 6 and has Cerebral Palsy, a common condition found in Zambia. She is subject to physical abuse from her boyfriend.

Elijah has Epilepsy and is disabled (one arm and leg) with his sister Yvonne. She is a trained tailor and wants to make garments and earn some income. We gave her a manual sewing machine, donated by someone in the UK, and some materials. Needless to say she was delighted and will now be able to support herself and Elijah.

Whenever we get the opportunity people we meet receive some knitted items made by our supporters in the UK - a hat, a knitted doll or teddy, a sweater or blanket - and sometimes a full set! Thank you to all the knitters - you bring joy to people here.

This afternoon we joined the HHZ Trustee Board meeting. We provided feedback on our findings during the visit and will follow this up on our return with a report and recommendations. We also discussed safeguarding; very important, especially in the current climate within the charity sector. HHI have a safeguarding policy in place and we have presented a draft document for HHZ to adopt as their policy. We also discussed the future and how we will work together on a transition. Sadly our income is reducing and over the next two years we are hoping to encourage HHZ to seek funding for tbemselves as we seek to manage our reducing resources. Bingo - all services on and time for bed.