On 21 December 2009, MAMA achieved a project milestone with the transfer of A$3,068.53 to Sishemo Education Trust in Lusaka, Zambia, to fund its first project.
Designed to prove MAMA’s grass-root approach to providing practical solutions to identified issues, the project was to fund the implementation of a sustainable school feeding program and an intensified reading program for the students.
We were confronted by the alarming statistics that 53% of students only ate one meal a day; 43% ate irregularly with some nights spent hungry; 15% of homes are youth headed; 41% of homes are headed by aged grandmothers; 39% of homes are headed by single parents, mainly widows; and 5% of homes are headed by fathers who are unemployed.
We recognised, in consultation with Sishemo, that a major contributing factor to the students’ drop in performance was the lack of food.” The MAMA Team, November 2009
With an innovative solution, MAMA purchased an industrial sewing machine for Sishemo, to help establish the Sishemo Leather Centre. The centre enables students and community members to produce leather products such as belts, handbags, key holders, phone pouches and leather hats for sale in the local area. The proceeds from the sales fund the school feeding program, which provides every student with a nourishing and substantial lunch. In so doing, the school extended its hours from 4 hours 30 minutes to 7 hours 30 minutes, and increased the children’s capacity for learning.
The other component of the project was to provide the school with 150 textbooks to introduce an intensified reading program to help the children improve their reading, vocabulary, writing and communication skills.
Project cost: A$3,068.53
Completion date: January 2010