We are nearly half way through 2017 and we just cannot believe where the time has gone! Last time we updated you, the school year had just begun and we had 80 children coming to the centre to learn and play and to generally just be children. The sound that emanates from our little patch of land in Caledonia always fills me with joy as I close my eyes and think about all these little souls having the freedom to grow and develop and to know that they are safe.
There are so many children in Caledonia and we have noticed that there are more and more queuing up at the gate with the hope of being let in. Our capacity has sadly reached its limit at school but we have been able to increase the number of children that we feed to 300 children per day. This is 100 children more than we were feeding this time last year and there are many, many more who we would love to be able to welcome to our table. One of our aspirations is to be able to expand the feeding programme, possibly running it from various venues throughout Caledonia, allowing children right through the area to receive at least one meal per day. We hope to be able to find premises for this over the next few months and will keep you updated!
In the meantime, we aim to offer the best service that we can to the children that we look after. One of our teachers has, out of her own initiative and pocket, been taking part in training during the holidays. She has brought her newly acquired skills back to the classroom and to the other teachers and we are loving watching as the children respond to her and to all that she has to offer them. It is so encouraging to see that our teachers are also growing and developing, as well as the little ones they serve. Well done Felistas – we are so proud of you and so pleased to have you on our team!
Our biggest sadness this year has been following up on those children that have left our care to go into Grade 1 at primary schools in the area. The reports that come back after home visits to our graduates is that many of them are not going to school, are going to school periodically or are attending shift schools where they go to school for 2 hours a day and then are replaced with the next group of students. The climate in Zimbabwe sees many of the parents of our graduates out of work and this perpetuates the cycle of a poor education leading to a further life of poverty for the next generation. The Foundations Project is struggling to ensure that we keep our current programmes going but we would love to, as mentioned before, expand our work to ensure that we can offer more to the children as they leave our care and go out into the big wide world.
We do, however, recognise the benefit that our children are receiving and we would once again like to thank all of those who have been involved and have assisted us in continuing our work. The need may be great and we may not be filling it completely but we are making a difference to those that we can. We are so thrilled that we can do this and we are so very grateful to all of you for allowing this to be possible!!! Here’s to a wonderful rest of 2017 and I look forward to updating you soon as we watch our children build the foundations for their futures.