Latest work in Africa
Winter 2015-16 Update
Sponsorship of university students
VillageSteps has sponsored 4 university students through their graduation.
Currently, two new university students are being supported.
Peter* is a 17 year old boy living in Zambia in one of the remote places of Lusaka.
He did exceptionally well on his high school final exams.
Mathematics 1 - distinction English 3- merit Biology 2 - distinction history 2 - distinction literature 5 - credit Religious education 2- distinction He wrote to us: “I heard about friends around Lusaka who are have made a positive change in their family and individual lives through the evident help you rendered for years to them.
I live with an old short sited grandmother who has terrible eye problems. I lost my father in 1998 when I was a little boy; later in 2005 I lost my mother. Both never disclosed the diseases that killed them which left me in a dangerous position because from that time I was constantly getting sick. My grandmother could not afford to take me to the clinic until one of our good friends decided to help me and grandmother to take me for medical check-ups at nearest community clinic where they conducted medical check-ups. I discovered that I was HIV/AIDS positive.
It was a very shocking moment to deal with that I was a little boy who never even knew about sex issues. When I asked the doctor at the clinic he told me I was born with the virus and it had started effecting me because no medical precaution were taken ever since I was born. I was put on medication from this moment I discovered in 2009 hoping I could get better but things were still not okay because I was taking medication without good food because my grandmother could not afford a good meal. This was bad for us at this particular point because my education was really effected in that I was about to write my Grade 9 Exam which also never had hope on how I was going to pay my Fees.
In 2 years of my junior secondary school I stayed without paying my school fees. I thank God for the school manager who allowed me stay in school without fees because we could not afford any. I managed to write my exam and thank God I passed my Grade 9 Exams and my former school manager paid my Grade 10 fees and promised to educate me up to grade 12. Sadly when I was to pay my Grade 11 fees he passed on and I was stuck again so I was not able to pay my fees for two years again. I only managed to pay my grade 12 Exam fees which was K100 obtained from piece work I did in selling vegetables. When I wrote my Grade 12 and the results came out, by God Grace again I came out with outstanding results which can take me at any university in Zambia and beyond, and was one of the best students at my school. Sadly I could not collect my results even after checking that I made it with flying colors because I owe the school money for two years which is about K2500 to collect my results. I currently work in a small shop where I get K300 per month which I use to buy food for my Grandmother and always save K50 towards collecting results which also is a died dream for me because I only saved K250 towards the same.
I wish to beg for help from you people who I knew and heard about from my friends whose lives have been changed due to your hearts of gratitude and when I heard about you I didn’t know how to communicate to you because I knew nothing about computers and internet from last year and this is when I learnt how to use the internet.
The reason I write to you is to ask for help in collecting my results, I wish to become a clinical officer at a government college in Lusaka I want to do a diploma program for three years so I can help myself have a good life and that of grandmother and little brother possibly you can also help me find a sponsor for my college education, I would love to continue explaining my story but wish to end hear and appreciate in advance for your gratitude and compassionate hearts as I await to hear from.”
He has been accepted at the University of Zambia and is now enrolled with all fees paid.
The student was running a preschool in a poor area of Lusaka when we met her. Most of the children were orphans being raised by relatives who could not pay for them to attend school. Her parents were dead. She was caring for a child with HIV. We were very impressed by her discipline and the love she showed to the children. She decided to go to university. She is attending a branch of the University of Zambia in the northern region. She is Zambia is studying to become a certified primary teacher.
*Actual names have been withheld.
Needs at Healing Place School in Zambia
The government changed the curriculum recently and the school needed new books and teaching aids. The standard exams set by the government will be based on this new curriculum.
We were able to provide funds for the teachers’ guides and textbooks.
Success has brought the need for classrooms. Many parents have heard of the success at Healing Place and want their children to attend. This has resulted in the need for more classroom space.
One food hall/classroom at Healing Place was assisted by a team from Enumclaw in 2014 and is now complete.
The school has added grades 8 & 9. Pastors Thenny and John Mpanga said “We had pupils who were forced into early marriages and some were in the streets to look for money because after graduation to grade 8 they had no funds.”
Two grades meet in each classroom at the same time now and it is quite difficult.
Work has begun on another new classroom needed to meet the growth in the number of students.
A team from the Enumclaw area will be traveling to the school in 2016 to complete this classroom block (contains two classrooms) in July/August.
Days for Girls kits are being constructed by women at Calvary Presbyterian and by women in Surprise, AZ. The name “Days for Girls” means giving girls more days in school. It developed a cloth sanitary pad and washing kit so that the pads can be reused. This is so critical for keeping girls in school.
The high pass rate at Healing Place means that students are qualified for higher level education in government schools. Some can get scholarships but others need financial assistance.
We provide a monthly stipend for the teachers and funds for school lunch each day.
We have lost some of the funding for the monthly stipend so that is now a need to be met. This is very important for maintaining quality teachers at the school.
The school is expected to pay teachers at least eight hundred kwacha per month (about $108), the same pay home maids earn per month. Currently, the teachers receive about five hundred kwacha (that is fifteen teachers, the guard and the care giver) every month.
There is no lighting inside the classrooms. Lighting would aid instruction and allow the school to offer night classes to adults. It would also improve security in the compound.
Thanks to your support we have educated hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. This has transformed lives of students, teachers and their families. Together with African staff, we have given two great gifts: hope and trust.
This is especially true for girls whose education is often a lower priority for their families who expect daughters to assist with younger siblings, to do chores such as fetch water and firewood, and to marry young. The education of girls can be a threatening cultural change that is resisted. There is an African saying: If you educate a boy, you educate a man. If you educate a girl, you educate a nation.
All of you who are supporters of VillageSteps have been part of changing lives and the future of generations of families. Whether it has been money, prayers, labor or encouragement, it is deeply appreciated.
Also, we acknowledge the tenacity of children who have chores at home and still walk to school to learn. Many of them have lost parents and have limited resources, but they have persevered.
Please partner with us again to assist housing for orphans, to complete the Healing Place school, to provide for teachers’ salaries, to supply food for daily lunches, and to provide scholarships and supplies for students to continue their education. Your continued financial support is essential to our mission. We remain a small donor funded organization.
Remember 100% of your donation goes to the projects and students in Africa.
Some opportunities to participate.
Provide house for orphan family in Malawi: $4000
Provide computer for grade 9 exams at Healing Place: $500
Provide assistance for a teacher’s salary: $1200 a year
Security wall on back of property=$6500.
Provide scholarship for a student for one year
Electricity to the classroom blocks at Healing Place to improve security and to allow for evening studies=$1500.
New classroom to meet the growing student enrollment at Healing Place. $8500
Electricity to the food/assembly hall =$800.
Send donations to VillageSteps at: OR use Paypal at www.villagesteps.org.
27455 SE 400th Way
Enumclaw, WA. 98022
Some of the proceeds from the sale of all Suzanne’s novels will go to support education for vulnerable children in Africa. The titles are: The Bride Price, The Academy, A Passing Grade, Consider the Lily, and children’s books: Gusty’s Gift (about how a honey badger finds his talent) and a Spanish version, El Don de Gusty. A stuffed honey badger can be purchased with the book.
Thank you and God bless you for your gifts.
Ken and Suzanne Popp
Directors; email: email@example.com