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Supporting a nursing student & building a learning space ...

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In this month's article from Share the Light, a charity created from the projects and links developed by the staff and students of Salesian College Farnborough with young people in Zambia, Sophie Astles celebrates the achievements of a busy 2018.

 

The New Year is a time to look forward, but also a time for reflection and taking stock on the past twelve months. It’s been a busy year at Share the Light, with plenty of successes to celebrate. Here’s a round-up of some of our highlights of 2018:

 

January:
We celebrated Fostina, (photo above) one of our scholarship students, as she finished the first six months of her nursing course. Fostina reached out to Share the Light in April 2017 after meeting many of the advocates when they visited the City of Joy. She had graduated with good grades, but had no funds to continue her studies. With our help, she started a nursing course in Lusaka in July 2017.

She says: “Hello everyone, I want to thank you for the love and support you have given me, I feel so happy I don’t know how to thank you for everything, I am who I am because of what you have done for me. I am very happy and proud. I know my family in England will always be there for me and I pray that God always protects you and blesses you in everything you do. Thank you once more, I have so much love for you all.”

 

February:
Work on our ‘Space to Learn’ project at Luyobolola Community School in Mazabuka continued. With the help of our fundraising, the school were able to convert a derelict area into a new classroom, providing space for a further 45 children to have their lessons inside. The school also managed to improve other areas, including painting the perimeter fencing. Work was finally completed in April and students are enjoying the extra space.

 

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March:
On the 1st March, many braved the weather to attend a candle party to 'share a little light' by buying a candle to raise money for the Scholarship Programme. Despite being the first day of spring, we had several inches of snow and freezing temperatures. Our supporters were not dissuaded though, and it was a great evening which raised over £200 and drew attention to the ongoing need for funds to sustain the Scholarship Programme and to enable it to grow in the future. We were particularly pleased that many new sponsors also signed up to financially support students to complete their studies.

 

April:
Our annual Advocates’ Evening took place in April, as we welcomed the sixth group of advocates to the Share the Light team. This event allows us all to get together to share our experiences, ideas and plan how we can continue to grow in the future. It is also an opportunity to reminisce, and record a video to send back to the girls in the City of Joy.

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May
Our wonderful supporters continued to raise funds to support our work. Events included a Fun Footy at Salesian College Farnborough, an all-night disco, pub quizzes, concerts and bucket collections.


June and July
Our 2018 advocates headed off to Zambia. They spent a busy few weeks visiting the local community, and spending time getting to know those we support and developing an understanding of the work we do. They stayed at the City of Joy, becoming part of the family there, as well as visiting the Porridge Club, helping out with lessons at Luyobolola School (below) and Magoye Primary School, meeting scholarship students and even appearing on Chikuni Radio Station. Advocates were particularly proud of their efforts to repaint one of the houses at the City of Joy and to paint a new mural (below).

 

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August
The summer provided an opportunity for reflection, especially following the 2018 trip to Mazabuka. Advocates looked back on their time in Zambia, remembering the sense of community, family and fun, and planning ways in which they can continue to help those they met in the future. While in Zambia, advocates are able to discuss potential projects with those we support, meaning they are well placed to suggest ways to expand our work. In the coming financial year, we will be raising funds to repair the roof at the City of Joy and to complete the perimeter wall. We are also looking to fund a new ablution block at Luyobolola Community School to help improve hygiene in response to an outbreak of cholera.


September
Our sportiest volunteers were out in force this month. Alicia ran the Glow in the Park Run, while Katherine conquered the hills of the Great North Run and Jenny smashed the Newbury Triathlon.

 

October
It was an exciting month at Luyobolola Community School as everyone joined in the celebration to bid farewell to the Grade 9 students. Many hope to be able to continue their Grade 10 - 12 studies at other local schools, but this is not always possible without help to cover the cost – this is where Share the Light steps in. The generosity of our supporters who fundraise, donate, or sponsor students via our Scholarship Programme make a real difference to those who wish to continue their education.

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Scholarship girls

November
We launched our 2018 Joy Voucher appeal. Instead of gift vouchers for retailers, we offered a Joy Voucher, which provides a nutritious breakfast for a child for a full year for just £10. This ensures students don’t go hungry, improving their ability to concentrate and learn, as well as encouraging attendance at school. 
Joy Vouchers are available until the end of January, so visit https://mydonate.bt.com/events/joy18 if you would like to help.


December
Christmas came to Mazabuka. Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, we were able to fund gifts for the young students at Luyobolola Community School and for the girls at the City of Joy. Simple but essential items such as school uniforms, shoes and book bags were gratefully received and will be much appreciated in the coming year.

 

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City of Joy girls


We look forward to continuing our work in 2019, increasing the support we are able to offer and widening the scope of our projects. Keep an eye out for our shiny new website launching soon too!


Any help you can give is always appreciated; please visit us at sharethelight.uk to find out how you can support us.

 

Sophie Astles

Share the Light

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