#Ask4More: We need YOUR help! [PROJECT UPDATE]

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Two weeks ago, we excitedly launched our first Zambian project, a women empowerment program, called #Ask4More tailor-made to fit into the Grade 12 curriculum seamlessly. Next week, we have a scheduled meeting with representatives from the department of Women in Governance to see if we can participate in a joint venture together too. Needless to say, we are very happy to see our project flourish so quickly!

Although today, we are looking for your help to make #Ak4More even better.

As already mentioned in our previous blog post, the 9-week program includes:
– A 41-page instructor booklet, detailing every part of the program, ensuring coherent progress throughout;
Weekly activities focusing on empowering the girls through various methods, such as entrusting them with administrative roles, etc.;
Team-building assignments;
Awareness of other powerful women whose endeavours changed the world as we know it;
Talks by Zambian women who managed to forge a career even though they didn’t have an easy upbringing;
Work placements during the holidays;
– University orientation visits, where students are given a taste of what awaits them if only they aim a little higher.

As an organisation, we are aiming to fund at least two University educations for the best performers in class starting from the next scholastic year, 2015/2016. A typical University education in Zambia costs approximately €750-€1000 and we are confident that, through fund raisers back home, we WILL be able to fulfil our targets.

Yet together, we can do much more! There are usually about 40 students per class, which means that our eventual targets will be to get all 40 of them into undergraduate courses at the local universities every year. Starting from today, you can donate directly towards this cause using the following information:

BANK NAME: Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c.
BANK IDENTIFIER CODE (BIC): LBMAMTMT
BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER: 0117263463803
IBAN (for international transfers): MT41LBMA05000000000117263463803
BANK ACCOUNT NAME: Mr Alan Casha & Mr Andrew Camilleri – #ASK4MORE

Moreover, it would be immensely appreciated if this article could be shared on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtags #JoinHandsForAfrica and #Ask4More. The more exposure it get, the more the chances are of overreaching our targets. So, what are you waiting for? Spread the word!

For more information, please do not hesitate to send us an email on: info@joinhandsforafrica.com or donations@joinhandsforafrica.com.

Thank you all! Stay tuned.

Androo & Alan

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PROJECT UPDATE: We’re almost there!

First of all, please excuse our lack of updates. We have been extremely busy with work on the library as well as with these tiny projects that pop up from time to time.

Needless to say, the library is well and truly taking shape. Construction-wise it is as good as ready. All the walls are smoothened, so is the floor. New windows and door have been constructed and put in place as well! All thats left is a ceiling (to cover the roof and its pillars, and excess wiring) shelves and lastly, giving the room some colour from all the greyness.

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How do you think we’re getting the shelves for the books? Buying them? Fat chance. Buy the timber and construct them ourselves? Close, but no.. We chose a tree from a nearby forest and chainsawed our way to timber, of course. The land was privately owned and we had to give a few shillings to its owner for the tree. This way we got the finest quality timber in Lolgorien for a fraction of the market price.

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It was a very educative experience. These men know their trade very well and did the job with the slightest of efforts.

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The land owner’s wife gave us tea and even brought lunch for all five of us – chicken stew and the local ugali. You see, in most of Africa, this custom of feeding the visitors, is fairly common. We never need to worry about packed lunch or any other amenities because we know they would be provided. Had we stayed until night, we would have been offered a bed as well – I will elaborate on this phenomenon in a separate post because I was truly astounded by the hospitality the Kenyans show to one another.

We have also bought €600 worth of textbooks for the last three years of primary school, the years when the students start doing formal examinations, with the rest arriving at a later date depending on the amount of funds we have left. You see, in Kenya, books are somewhat expensive compared to the standard of living. So much so, that government schools only offer an 8 : 1 students to books ratio (!) while private schools, like the one we’re helping, offer a 4 : 1 students to books ratio. With the library this school will be able to boast a 2 : 1 ratio or less! A massive difference from the norm and a much needed upgrade.

With our Join Hands For Africa movement (click HERE for more info) we will continue to improve the standard of living and infrastructure so that many children, like Samuel and William here, can get the proper education they deserve and a prospect of a much better life than the one they’re living today.

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Stay tuned!

Androo & Alan

Plastering, the Kenyan Way

Knackered.

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Today has been a day of genuine work. Early in the morning, four people arrived at the compound, tools in hand, to start plastering the gap in one of the future-library’s walls.

The room right next to the library is the school’s reasonably sized kitchen, therefore it was important to get this gap, between the top of the wall and the roof, closed to prevent any possible damage to the books and computers from all the cooking fumes.

Unsurprisingly, things are done a bit differently here in Kenya. Health and safety regulations are non-existent and workers have to do with what they have, or what they can get. Therefore, instead of scaffolding, they put up several planks, balancing them over some other wood, that was holding up the ceiling. When planks weren’t enough, they used tree bark instead. Cement was pulled up manually and effortlessly (most of the people we’ve had the pleasure to work with so far are ridiculously strong for their frame, no doubt from years of working in these conditions).

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After several huffs and puffs both myself and Alan joined them on the makeshift platforms and were instructed, by the self-proclaimed Chief, how to mix, spread and carefully apply plaster to the bricks.

What if they didn’t have enough tools for all of us? No problem, a piece of wood will suffice. Oh and how do we pull up the bricks? Throw them up and catch them, one by one, while balancing on the – ever so sturdy – tree bark of course!

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After several hours of brick throwing, balancing, wasp bites (!) and plastering, the whole job was done. Their work was fast and skilful, considering what they had to work with. It has truly been a day of revelation. We learned how to plaster, and managed to do it, albeit very slowly at first, the Kenyan way.

I also cannot help but mention that the whole process was done under the watchful gaze of the local security.. :’)

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Stay tuned!

Androo & Alan