Thanks to our supporters’ generosity, we managed to provide free places at the school for the whole year to 53 local children who live with the greatest disadvantages. We were also able to add a full-time administrator and a full-time PE teacher to the staff team.
In May, we finally completed our big ‘Toilet & Water Project’, and our learners now use 20 modern w/cs, 10 showers, 4 rows of urinals and sinks, 4 drinking fountains – and a special facility for learners in wheelchairs.
Climate change has meant much less rain in sub-Saharan Africa: there’s now not enough water in the rivers to generate hydro-electricity (the school has only a few hours of power each month) and crops need constant irrigation. So, last year, we installed a solar pump and started to store our rainwater, waste-water and a supply of non-potable water. We use these now to flush our toilets and irrigate our crops – which means we don’t waste a drop of the precious drinking water we collect from our borehole.
In October, we finally received the funds to replace our ancient and unreliable 30-seater school bus with a ‘locally-re-conditioned’ bus; and, in December, we were able to start ‘re-conditioning’ a second bus – which will make such a big difference to our children.
Every year, before we can plan any improvements, we must first raise the funds we need to pay the staff and run the school.
This year, the ordinary running costs of Mukwashi will be about £64,000 ($75,000 / €71,000). We expect local parents will cover at least 67% of this through fees & fares, leaving us £21,000 ($24,500 / €23,000) to raise from friends and supporters around the world.
Once we have covered these day to day costs (mainly for free places and teachers’ salaries) we will focus on raising funds for our school improvement projects.
We promise that every pound, dollar and euro given by friends and supporters is used to run the school and improve its equipment and infrastructure.
During 2023, we have three main improvement projects.
First, we are seeking to become self-sufficient in food for the long-term. Thanks to some generous gifts, in January, we were able to buy 90 more baby fruit trees for our orchard, and, also, in February, to buy some much-needed irrigation equipment for our crops.
Now we need to buy five more breeding goats and 50 hens for our livestock enclosure. These will cost £1,000 ($1,200) and will provide learners with animal handling skills – and also with regular protein.
Second, we are seeking to develop an experimental ‘business lab’ where learners can develop their business skills by developing a community shop. We’ve bought an old shipping container and are currently renovating and converting it. This will cost £900 ($1,100) to set up as a shop; however, any future profits will boost the school’s income.
Third, we need to restock our laboratory with enough scientific equipment for our much-increased numbers of secondary learners. This will cost (£500 / $700).
All ‘regular gifts’ (monthly, quarterly or annual donations) fund free places for children living with acute disadvantage. They are either orphans or their family income is less than £25 ($30/€28) per month.
Because of the high level of local need, we would like to provide at least 100 free places for those children and orphans in our community who are living with the greatest poverty and the most vulnerability.
At the moment, 32 regular supporters donate, between them, the funds to provide 53 free places. Every time we recruit a new regular giver, we can offer yet another child in the community a free place which will transform their life chances.