The pandemic is causing challenges for all of us – here’s an update from many of the programmes we work with about how they are trying to meet these challenges – from marathon cycle rides to emergency water supplies (imagine trying to wash your hands when there is no water!)
The Neighbourhood Care Points in Eswatini are currently being used as feeding stations – the children go there every day for food which they take home to share with their families, but they are not yet allowed to stay for any teaching or other activities. However the government of Eswatini has announced that schools will reopen in January 2021 so it is hoped that the NCPs can also resume normal teaching then.
The story videos which many volunteers have made are being shared with our partners in Eswatini. Eunice (education coordinator for the NCPs) has been reviewing the curriculum during the closure and the stories have now been incorporated into their schemes of work. She says, ‘Thank you so much for the stories, we really do appreciate especially the people that take their time reading for the children. The stories will be shared with the children as soon as everything gets back to normal.’
If you are interested in an e-volunteer placement with the NCPs in Eswatini please email firstname.lastname@example.org – we are currently creating e-volunteer opportunities to support this project.
The biggest event for Treak Community Centre this month has been their sponsored bike ride from Siem Reap to Kep – the Treak Trek.
They told us: ‘It now looks likely that international travel (and therefore our volunteers and visitors and income) will be disrupted well into 2021. Realising the challenges we face, the staff got together and said that they would like to play their part in fundraising to help the school. The idea of an annual TREAK TREK was born, which in 2020 will be a 320 kilometre sponsored bike ride from Siem Reap to Kep on the coast. This will be a big challenge for the staff, who have never attempted anything like this before. We have been in serious training during August, cycling every Thursday, gradually building up to 100 kms. We of course hope to raise money through the ride, but it will also be an enormous adventure for the staff, taking many of them to parts of their country they’ve never seen before. In addition it will be a great team building exercise, as already evidenced during the weekly training sessions.’
The ride began on October 6th and was successfully completed on October 12th, a total distance of 346 km. They had many adventures along the way, including monsoon rain, flooded roads, an epic journey in the back of a truck and a ‘missing’ guesthouse. They saw the bats at Battambang, experienced the traffic jams of Phnom Penh, celebrated two birthdays and finished with a celebratory meal of freshly caught crab by the sea at Kep. Read about their adventures in their blog –
Well done to the Treak team! If you would like to sponsor their ride you can do so here
If you are interested in an e-volunteer placement with Treak Community Centre have a look here
After a long lockdown, The Gambia is just starting to open up again. The Ministry of Education recently announced that schools for grades 7 – 12 will reopen on October 14th with all lower grades opening two weeks later so Mary’s Little Lambs Nursery and Prep School can finally reopen on 28th. The staff are currently busy preparing for this – strict safety protocols are in place, meaning the staff must ensure the school has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, that hand-washing facilities are available and that there are clear rules for safe behaviour around the school. Training for the new school curriculum has not yet been able to take place because of restrictions on holding workshops, but it is hoped these regulations will be lifted soon and that training can take place during the Christmas holidays. We wish everyone at the school well as they reopen.
The Gambia is trying to kickstart their all-important tourism as flights recommence at the end of October (fingers crossed). However quarantine regulations mean that it will still be some time before the number of tourists, and therefore income from tourism, returns to pre-pandemic levels.
If you are interested in an e-volunteer placement with Mary’s Little Lambs have a look here
Good news – the Education For All boarding houses were able to reopen in October, and schools also reopened. The first girls to return were those in exam classes, but all girls are now back on a part-time basis – the houses are able to open at 50% capacity so they spend one week at school and one week back in their villages. When at home they are able to participate in online learning following Education For All’s very successful fund-raising initiative to provide tablets and Internet access for all girls in exam classes.
The biggest challenge of reopening has been lack of water. There was little snow in the mountains earlier in the year meaning water supply to the towns failed – imagine the challenge of deep-cleaning the houses ready for the girls’ return with no water other than a few bottles bought from the supermarket, and imagine the responsibility of ensuring the girls’ safety with no water for hand washing! Thankfully this problem has now been solved thanks to a generous donation of three 3000L water tanks – how relieved they all are to have water in the taps again!
If you are interested in an e-volunteer placement with the EFA boarding houses check it out here
From our partners in Madagascar: ‘In Madagascar, September is the month for beginning anew. The weather begins to warm up, the lemur babies are due, and the school year begins. In Sainte Luce, the Stitch Cooperative has returned to the Studio, working on beautiful new designs and unique products – which we hope will be in the Etsy store for Christmas! Meanwhile in the wider Anosy region, big changes are underway in sanitation and hygiene. This year we were very excited to begin a new WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) collaboration with UNICEF Madagascar, aiming to eliminate open defecation, improve hygiene practices, and increase access to clean water. We have already reached over 1,200 rural villages with information on handwashing, making your own hand washing station and building your own toilet. With everyone around the world becoming more aware of how simple techniques such as handwashing can protect families and save lives, the work of this team is ever more crucial in isolated and rural areas.‘
If you would like to know more about the programme in Madagascar take a look here
South Africa – Good Work Foundation
Our partners in Hazyview, South Africa, are delighted to have won the Standard Bank Top Women Award in the Youth Development category. Kate Groch, founder and CEO of Good Work Foundation attended the virtual awards ceremony and accepted the honour on behalf of all the men and women in the GWF team who believe in a more equitable society for all South Africans. We offer them our congratulations on their success.
If you would like to know more about Good Work Foundation and how you can volunteer with them take a look here