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October 2015The students returned to school on August 17th and thanks to the continued support of the Ndola Christian Fellowship, food was purchased to get the school year off on the right foot.
Faithful supporter, South African musician, Harry Curtis, also sent 3,000 South African Rand to the school from an event, and hopes to visit the school in the next few months. The last time he came, the students were enraptured with his music and look forward to his return.
|Harry visiting the school in May 2014|
As agreed earlier in the summer, because of increasing issues with the goats all were sold and funds directed towards purchasing more chooks and hopefully ducks and pigeons that will be used for breeding and eventually for food.
The additional fowl will be housed in the former goat enclosure, and a much needed water source was added to the area. The students have done well raising chooks, so we will build on that success as the school strives towards becoming more self sustaining.
All was going well until a large number of chooks were stolen in the middle of the night. The security guard admitted under police questioning that he was sleeping at the time of the roberry and teachers in residence (who are visually impaired) were not aware of any disturbance.
Mr. Mulenga, the school's head master, implemented increased security measures and directed the school's handyman to reinforce the chook's hut to prevent this from happening again.
Replacing the chooks would have necessitated funds being re-directed from the food account which would have been difficult to do. Fortunately, Gary and Marie Langham from Kitwe, (BLD Copperbelt Ltd) stepped forward and donated 1500 kwacha to purchase the new supply of chooks. As Marie said, "We were happy to help and feel it was just a nice opportunity to support Yvonne's (the school's long time fundraiser) great work in assisting the Ndola School for the Visually Impaired."
It is hard to fathom how someone could steal chickens in the dead of night at a children's school for the blind. But what is very clear is the generosity of wonderful people like our donors who remind us how good the world really is.
"We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths."
Time passes, but those who have visited the Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired rarely forget it. Stuart Sharp's relationship with the school began almost 15 years ago when he sponsored a concert and large sporting event which raised awareness of the school and helped childen with disabilities in the Copperbelt region.
|Alan and Anton cared for the goats over the Christmas holidays|
Students are home for the summer holidays and hopefully they are enjoying time with their families. In a few weeks, they will return and there will be lessons to be learned in and out of the classroom.
"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning".
Fred Rogers, Children's TV show host
|Mr. Chisala with the donated bath tubs|
|Yvonne said she was amazed and relieved to hear the goats don't eat the vegetables in the student tended garden or the laundry that is dried on the hedges!|
|The school's staff repaired the sidewalks with the donated materials|
|A huge step forward for the school|
|Members of NCF gathered at Nsobe Game Camp for a retreat in September 2014|
|The baby goat happily followed the herd as it meanders around the school grounds, before going to their enclosure and hut for the night.|
Bells...bedding...blessings and benefactors
The school is blessed with people and organizations that help in many ways.
Recently, First Quantum Minerals kindly donated bedding, assorted linens and towels from their guest houses to the school. What a treat for the students to be given these gently used items!
|Isabel Munsaka from FQM and staff from the school|
|"William" modeling his new bell|
We are very grateful to new supporters and those who have been benefactors for many years. Your help shines a light on the school.
"Feeling gratitude without expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
William Arthur Ward
One of the school's goals is to become more self sufficient, so Project Baaaaa was created and is a huge step towards reaching this goal.
The decision to choose goats was driven by several factors: goats are plentiful in Africa...are hardy creatures....easy to feed...affordable ($120 US) and a good size for being around visually impaired children. Friends of the school stepped up to sponsor goats, a shelter was built, and signs were made to commemorate the names of those who were honored!
|Dubbed the "Hillcrest Hilton" the school built the goat shed in preparation for the goats' arrival|
|Goats checking out their new home!|
|The children holding up signs with the goat's names|
|Tim and Yvonne Currin bought one to honour their two granddaughters and made a combo name -- Annigail.|
|The Spirit of Christmas (an anonymous donor) purchased one for Cooper Kinley|
James Kasongo funded one in honour of his late father, William. James said he lived near the school when he was growing up and saw first hand the challenges the school faced so was moved to help the children with this project.
|Heather and Roger Kinley purchased two goats to honour their new grandson, Magnus, and one for Roger's parents.|
We are grateful to everyone who helped with this project, and hope the goats thrive under the student's care. If all goes well, we will expand the herd. Stay tuned for updates!
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Songs of Joy
|Jumbe Zulu (a student whose story is under Profiles) thanked Mr. Curtis for coming to the school. Proud music teacher, Mary Malamba is on his right.|
We are always happy to provide updates to our donors and to show where their funds have gone. The seeds that were donated at Christmas time, and planted after the rains have started to grow, helping to ensure the students have a supply of vegetables.
|Learning how to tend crops also helps the students who may not continue on to post secondary education, but with the skills to provide help to their families and villages.|
Heather Kinley, one of the school's supporters, was invited to do a presentation at the Lion's Club 19E District Spring Conference in Worley, Idaho on April 26th. During the one hour seminar, she shared information and photos about the challenges and successes the school faces.
|Heather described how the children said they felt they were "flying" when going on the new swing set for the first time.|
Headmaster, Mr. Chisala, is grateful to Priest River Lions Zone Chairman, Leonard Parenteau for inviting Heather to the conference, and to Larry Lawrence for his ongoing efforts in highlighting the needs of the school to various Lion's Club members.
Service groups or organizations who would like to receive a customized PowerPoint presentation can request one by emailing Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas continued recently with the arrival of gifts purchased by an anonymous donor who learned about this special school. In lieu of gifts he would have normally given to family and friends, he gave them a letter describing what the donation would mean to visually impaired children in Zambia.
This year, Christmas gifts took the form of audible soccer and dodge balls, magnifying loupes, vegetable seeds, and yes...even goats. We dubbed the donor, "Christmas Spirit", for it truly described his generosity.
We talked to The Braille Superstore in Canada who insured we got the best value for the donation. Free shipping worked well and although delivery took several weeks, it meant that every dollar donated went directly to the children.
Long time supporter, Yvonne Currin, brought the gifts and shared their joy as each donation was given.
|The wonderful gifts on Mr. Chisala's desk donated by the "Christmas Spirit". All that was missing was a Christmas tree!|
|The girls had fun being able to play with a ball they could hear, and caught on quickly|
|The boys had a great time playing soccer with the audi-balls.|
|Before receiving these special soccer balls, the boys would put pebbles into a plastic bottle so they could hear where it was kicked.|
|Here a student uses the loupe to read the Bible|
|Yvonne said it was wonderful to hear the students were reading out loud while using the loupe|
|A brighter world made possible by a $7 item.|
|The tactile balls appealed to students of all ages|
|Mr. Chisala and Mrs. Armengol with the donations|
The Christmas Spirit is not finished, and two more projects are ready to start. The anonymous donor had a special grandmother who had a bountiful garden each year. As part of his donation, vegetable seeds will be purchased then planted and tended to by the students. It is the donor's hope the children will have nutritious vegetables and experience the joy of growing and eating their own food.
|Once the rains stop in Zambia, the memorial garden will be planted|
In November, school supporters, Heather and Roger Kinley heard of Heifer International, a non-profit organization who assist communities in learning how to care for livestock. The Zambian representative was keen to help, but advised there weren't any animals available for donation. Undeterred, Heather and Roger donated funds for goats in lieu of Christmas gifts, as did Yvonne and Tim Currin, the Christmas Spirit, and James Kasongo. James works for Heifer International but wanted to personally donate a goat because as he said, "I have a great attachment to the Ndola Lions School for the Blind. I stayed with my elder brother in Hillcrest, just a stone's throw from the school and I saw how they suffered."
|The goat enclosure has been built, and once the fencing is completed, the goats will be purchased and brought to their new "home".|
Heifer International will train the students on how to care for the goats. Goats are noted for being good milk producers, so they will hopefully provide the students with a constant supply. The blog will be updated as soon as the school's new residents are welcomed.
A huge step forward for the school this year was the addition of a Grade 10 class. There are 14 students that have been able to continue their education at the Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired.
And while the challenges are immense for the school, the school is grateful to those who continue to help in countless ways.
Knowing they are not forgotten... that they are worthy... brightens and enriches the lives of the children that call the school "home".
"You are the piece of the puzzle of someone else's life. You may never know where you fit, but others will fill the holes in with pieces of you."
Thanks to ongoing support from groups such as the Ndola Christian Fellowship, the Itawa Round Table Chapter 16, and the Siksha Foundation, USA the children have not only their bodies, but their souls nourished.
|The older students can now feel like they too, can fly|
|This young boy found a quiet place in the playground and happily played his homemade drums|
The Itawa Round Table Chapter 16 and Siksha Foundation U.S.A. have once again generously reached out to support the school.
Over the last couple of months, a dilapidated water tank, and dwindling food supplies were replaced and replenished.
|Member of the Itawa Round Table speaking to the school|
|Students gather in the dining hall for food presentation|
|Dilapidated water tank|
|Construction going well|
|Installed water tank!|
At times it must seem to the faculty and students that they have been forgotten. It is only by the generosity of supporters and ongoing sales of the choir's CD and DVD that has kept the doors open and the children fed.
Everyone at the school is grateful to those who continue to remember them. To those who continue to care. And to those who continue to reach out and make a difference.
In turn, the students will be able to continue their education and create a future that is not only brighter --- but with the comfort of knowing they were not forgotten.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch...a smile....a kind word...a listening ear....an honest compliment...or the smallest act of caring....all of which have the ability to turn a life around." Leo Buscalia
Generosity is the Best Present
A valued supporter of the school, Mrs. Glenys Shone, hosted a garden party at her home on 31st August 2013 on the occasion of her mother's 80th birthday.
Guests were asked to give donations for the Lions School for the Visually Impaired, in lieu of gifts and through their generosity, K3,330.00 (approximately $620 U.S.) was raised. This donation will help to alleviate the on-going food shortage that the school experiences.
|After singing Happy Birthday, Abigail, aged 6, presented Mrs. Barrow with a copy of the choir's DVD "Empowerment" on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Here, Abigail receives a cuddle from Mrs. Barrow.|
|A member of the school's choir read a birthday message to Mrs. Barrow before entertaining the guests with a number of songs.|
Other recent donations include:
Thanks also to Mrs. Lara Maistrellis and family for a donation of clothing and to Ms. Colleen Jolly, also for a donation of clothing that was donated at the party.
Thanks again to ongoing supporter, Mrs. Armengol of Bicolandia for her donation of quantities of washing powder and cooking oil.
A welcome donation of approximately $60 U.S. from Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Olsen of Jersey Channel Islands for the purchase of food. The Olsens have been long-time supporters of the school and have funded such initiatives as Project Chook I and II, and providing bunk beds ensuring all children have proper beds.
The school is grateful for everyone who keeps the students' needs in mind, and for their ongoing generosity.
"No one has ever become poor by giving."
The choir members and their teacher, Miss Mary Mwamba Malama were invited by the Lions Club of Ndola to sing at a fundraising golf day held at the Ndola Golf Club on Sunday, June 9th, 2013.
They sang several songs from their CD Empowerment and judging by the applause at the end of each song, were very well received.
28 CDs were sold on the day, bringing in the amount of Kr 1,400 all of which will be used to buy food supplies for the students at the school.
The students had a wonderful day. Not only did they get to delight people with their singing which they so enjoy, they were treated as VIPs by the Lions Club, enjoying a wonderful lunch, cake and cold drinks.
Thanks to the outgoing President Mrs. Smita Patel and the other Lions Club members for a memorable day.
If you are interested in supporting the school by purchasing a CD, or where the choir can put on a concert to sell their CDs, please contact email@example.com.
Donations make the difference between the students just getting by to having a higher quality of life. It could be anything from the donation of fresh fruit and vegetables to Braille supplies to help the students learn how to live in a world without sight.
|Headmaster, Mr. G. Chisala using one of the new Perkins Braillers|
Plato once said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
The Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired has a school choir that is directed by Ms. Mary Mwamba Malama (who is also visually impaired). In October 2012, the choir produced a CD that enabled them to raise funds for the purchase of vegetables that augment their limited diets.
Recently, the Geldenhuys Family of Ndola donated a Casio keyboard. Without any instruction, choir members began learning how to use it and within days had mastered it. Another example of natural talent and determination!
If you would like to order a CD, or help support the school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincere thanks to the Geldenhuys Family for their donation!
|The boys learning how to use the keyboard|
For years, the focus of fundraising at the school was to ensure there was enough food to keep the students nourished, but in the back of our minds, was the desire to give the kids a playground that would not only benefit them physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
With the success of the school choir's CD, Empowerment, that is helping to stabilize the food issues, our focus turned to the playground. Over the last few months, many people donated their money, time and energy to enable the dream to come true today.
|Safety orientation began with very excited children anxious to experience all the various components|
|The boys were quick to walk with confidence on the bridge, and to go down the slide. Can you imagine what that would have been like if you had no sight?|
|Pure joy! The boy on the left had never been on a swing before but his face shows how much he loved it.|
|Together...we can make it!|
- NCF Church, Ndola for a significant donation of more than half the cost of the building materials and for sending us Fred and the welding equipment to repair the old slide
- Pete's Soap box - Africa Quest - to Jim, Jan, Jo, Tim and Natalie for scraping down and painting the swing and rusty old slide and digging in the tyres and being so cheerful in the blazing sun and the rain! You are an inspiration!
- Mr. John Lanning of High Places, Chingola, for his generous donation and for supplying the children with biscuits on orientation day as well as supplies for a hearty chicken dinner.
- Mrs. Roslyn de Louche for starting the Playground fund and her unfailing encouragement and ideas
- Mrs. Heather Kinley for not only contributing personally, but for encouraging family, friends, and businesses around the world to support the project, which they did so generously. Our heartfelt thanks go to all of you.
- Mr. and Mrs. Maistrellis and their children for donating their double swing set
- Mr. and Mrs. Vic Shone for donating the plastic slide and transported it from Lusaka to Ndola
- Mr. Simon Phiri and his assistants for so ably designing the playground and for the excellent construction work.
Yvonne said, "It was a labour of love and the children's delighted smiles and laughter says it all!"
"Today was good. Today was fun.
Once again our sincere thanks go to Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Olsen of Jersey, Channel Islands, for their sponsorship of the second phase of Project Chook.
50 new layers were delivered to the school on April 16th and were quickly settled with the help of the resident students.
|Students helping to bring the chooks to their new home|
|Everyone pitched in to help|
|Chooks settling in|
Our thanks also goes to Olympic Milling for continuing to donate layers' mash each month to feed the chickens.
We are grateful to the Olsens and Olympic Milling for their ongoing generous support of Project Chook, and we look forward to another 18 months of having a plentiful supply of eggs for the students.
Check back soon for an update on a very special project that will benefit the students in many ways!
|Francis Lombe Itawa RoundTable No. 16 - Outgoing|
Chairman speaks to the school
Left to right: Simushi Simushi RoundTable Zambia - Association Vice President, Ferdinand Menzu Round Table Zambia - Area One Chairman
|Nicholas Sithole Itawa RoundTable No. 16 -|
Projects and Fundraising Convenor
|The new freezer donated by Round Table No. 16 with funding from Siksha Foundation|
|Just a few months ago, there wasn't enough food to keep the children at the school and they had to be sent home.|
|The students, faculty and members of the Itawa Round Table No. 16 celebrate new friendships made through the generous donation.|
One of our donors, the Siksha Foundation sent a donation so the students could have a nice Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, most students were sent home early for the Christmas break because the school did not have enough food to feed them, so a much scaled down dinner was provided to the remaining children with the plan to host another dinner in the new year.
With school back in full force, a belated but nonetheless joyful dinner was put on for the students on February 22, 2013.
|$110 purchased enough chickens, vegetables, maize meal, drinks and sweets for more than 100 people.|
When Mr. Chisala spoke in his customary soft voice, they welcomed him in unison, then you could hear a pin drop as he thanked the school's donors and volunteers and asked the children to remember them all in their prayers.
The meal not only provided the students with delicious food they don't often get, but it reminded them and those who are entrusted with their safekeeping that people from far away care for them as well.
On behalf of the Ndola Lions School for the Visually Impaired, we thank the Siksha Foundation for their donation.
Check out the Profiles page to learn more about two students who despite their disabilities have their sights set on a bright future!
The year is starting off on a very positive note!
- Students returned after the extended Christmas break to the final installation of 28 new bunk beds and mattresses provided by the generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Olsen.
|Boys enjoying their new bunk beds and mattresses|
- Sales of the CD, Empowerment, have surpassed 200 copies and are being played in countries around the world! All profits from the CDs go directly to providing food for the students.
- With the food situation stabilized due to funds raised through CD sales, and an influx of young children to the school in January, a decision was made to proceed building a playground.
- As funds are raised, it will be built in stages with components that will enable the children to gain confidence in navigating various obstacles independently, improve spatial awareness and orientation, get much needed exercise, and provide what every child should have the opportunity to do – to have some fun.
- Estimated cost is $1,200 U.S., and donations have already begun! An Ndola family has pledged to provide two carpenters to do the labour, and funds from businesses and donors in Canada and Zambia is making this long time dream closer to reality!
- If you would like to donate, please check out the How you can help page
|This is a prototype of the type of playground we would like to build at the school. |
- "Project Chook" is going into Phase II because the egg production from the initial layers has dwindled and they have been sold to local restaurants. Proceeds from the sales will go towards a new batch of point of lay chicks that will eventually provide the students with approximately 2 eggs per week.
The school's choral group sang songs from their CD, Empowerment, at Jacaranda Mall in Ndola on November 23rd.
Sadly, 80 students had to be sent home a month early for their Christmas break because the school did not have enough food to feed all 130 students. The 50 that were allowed to stay were chosen because they were writing National exams this month.
With the help of donors supporting the self sustaining initiatives launched by the school, we hope this will never happen again.