We are finally able to take a moment to update everyone on our SEPO activities. We know it has taken too long to post our first update but we’ve spent our first few weeks here taking care of various family issues and projects so that we could dedicate the bulk of our remaining time to SEPO projects.
Our initial work involved identifying someone on the ground to manage SEPO projects once we are out of the country. We are pleased to introduce our Project Coordinator, Mato Kanenga.
Mato is a mechanic, a teacher, a farmer, and a friend (but one of those rare friends who has become family). He worked with Angela on her dissertation research in eastern Zambia back in 2005 and has continued to assist us every time we are in Zambia. Most importantly, he is as committed to the mission of SEPO as we are.
Additionally, we met last week with the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to discuss their vision for a SEPO-Kalangu partnership, as well as a sister-school relationship with Emmeline Cook Elementary School. The PTA is very enthusiastic about SEPO’s continued commitment to the community.
In our discussions, numerous possible projects were discussed and outlined. Kalangu’s most pressing need is for additional classroom space. They are currently serving 400 students with only 4 classroom – which means that classes have to stagger/rotate and students only learn for half a day (to make room for others).
During our meeting, we outlined a budget to construct an additional school block with 3 classrooms to relieve the current congestion. While the total cost of the new building is beyond the scope of our resources at the moment, SEPO committed to funding the initial stages of the project by purchasing most of the cement that will be needed to make the cement blocks for building (thanks to the support of CNOS and many other donors). The Kalangu PTA and parents will provide the labor and expertise in brick making and construction.
We will continue to provide updates as the project develops.
We will distribute the school supplies that were generously donated by Emmeline Cook Elementary School and shipped by Goatshark Enterprises, Inc. on Monday, June 25th – so look for updates soon after!