KT Newsletter Oct 2016

KT Newsletter Oct 2016

Hi everyone!!

I’ll begin with my usual apology for the gap between updates… Lots has been happening

The most significant piece of news for me personally is that I have resigned from my role as the OVC Project’s International Volunteer. The reasons for the decision are many, and it was heartbreaking for me to decide I needed to come home to Australia after a little under 2 years in Mwandi. It was a decision a little while in the making, but once it was made I had peace in my heart. It’s really tough to be a single gal separated from everyone you love by oceans, and I feel as though there are other ways I could be using my skills and passion for social justice to make a difference in the world. My heart stays very much connected to the Mwandi community and I’m sure I’ll get back over there sooner rather than later. This opens up an exciting opportunity for someone else (or a couple of ‘someone else’s’) to step into the role of International Volunteer on the ground in Mwandi. Please feel free to be in touch with the Support Team in Port Lincoln if you feel as though this is an avenue that is potentially for you.

Regarding the logistics of this decision… I am officially still ‘working’ for the OVC Project from Australia until the end of 2016. I am working on a bunch of PR materials from the many hours of video footage I took in my last month in Mwandi, as well as updating brochures etc for use in 2017. I am still liaising with potential volunteers who will travel to Mwandi in the new year and lend their time and skills, and am doing some speaking engagements. Had a wonderful weekend at West Epping Uniting Church in Sydney last weekend updating them about the Project, and will continue to speak in churches around south-east Queensland now that I am back home in Brisbane.

I would really encourage you to consider whether you would like to head over to Zambia to encourage our staff in their efforts, and our children in their lives. They really gain so much value from the presence of their international friends and partners. I am more than happy to connect over email and help you to organise any logistics regarding such adventures. I can’t overstate how significant my first trip to Mwandi was in the scheme of my life, so if there’s any desire in you whatsoever, shoot me an email and I’d be happy to chat!

A HUGE thank you to all the people who have been financially supporting my stipend these past years. If you have an automatic direct debit set up to the stipend account it is important for you to know that my final stipend payment will happen in December. If you would like to continue your support of the project beyond December then please be in touch with the Support Team so they can talk you through some options of redirecting those funds to other areas of the Project. If there is remaining money left in the stipend account after December, the support team will be making a plan with regular donors to see where they would like that money directed. I’d really appreciate your prayers as I search for work in Brisbane and try to figure out what I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life! My hope is to do something creative and unconventional… But will be needing a ‘real’ job so I can afford to eat in the midst of discovering that.

In other big news, the Project is also saying farewell to Sandra Pugsley as our Australian Education Sponsorship Coordinator. Sandra has done an enormous amount of work for the Project over many years and we will miss her greatly… But the fantastic news is that she will stay on board for a time to support Heather Scrimshaw as she takes up this role. Heather is also a longtime friend of the Project and many of her fingerprints are still fresh on documents and computer programming which is used daily in Mwandi by OVC Project staff. You will be able to reach Heather on mwandisponsorship@gmail.com to talk about all things education.

Speaking of Education…

We are in the process of restructuring how we fund tertiary education as a Project. Presently, we usually have one or two people who sponsor a student for the entirety of their degree. This is a massive commitment and we feel that it has prevented others from contributing as they just can’t afford such a huge financial commitment. The new goal will be to set up a pool of funds, whereby people have the option of contributing as much as they feel they can and then letting Heather know that they would like that money to go towards tertiary education. In this way, potentially dozens of people will support a student through their degree and the burden of cost will be really manageable for those involved. If you are passionate about tertiary education, we would really urge you to consider contributing to the work of the OVC Project in this way. We have a few students who are currently waiting for sponsorship money after having been accepted into college and recommended to the Project Administration by the OVC Education Committee. You could consider a one-off donation, or an ongoing automatic monthly donation… Every cent really does make a difference.

I had the extreme privilege before I came home of meeting Australian Education donors John & Gae Holds (who were close by to Mwandi in the middle of an African safari holiday) and connecting them with Kebby Mubita, the student they sponsored for his entire education degree. We were able to sit together over a coffee (I had a milkshake, because I’m 8!) and listen to Kebby talk about how their sponsorship changed his life. Kebby traveled for 10 hours on a bus to meet them for just a few hours because his life has been completely changed as a result of their generosity. Education Sponsorship changes lives!! All I can do is encourage you to be part of this really important work.

We are also still chasing funding for a special needs student who we hope can begin school at Choma Special School in the new year. Children with disabilities are really being given some wonderful opportunities to succeed in a culture that has shunned them for far too long. Special needs students who have graduated from Choma have a confidence and dignity that was denied them for the majority of their young lives. There is still a long way to go for the Project to ensure safe, healthy futures for children with disabilities beyond their schooling years, but their education is a huge start. Join us in this if you are able

Our Counselling Team (led by Giblet) continues to work towards the OVC Project’s goals in child-centred development. As a Project we are always looking for ways to increase the skill levels within this really valuable department.
An opportunity has presented itself for some training for two of our counsellors in couple’s counselling. The Project Administration would love to be able to send two of our counsellors to this training, and we are seeking funding of US$1000 to be able to do that. Please consider whether you are able to contribute all or any part of this to help the OVC Project continue to meet its social services objectives.

I don’t want to prattle on for too long here although I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface on what’s happening.

Life on the ground in Mwandi continues to move forward. Giblet (Head Counsellor) and Deaconess Lungu (Social Services Coordinator) recently finished a needs assessment survey of all of our beneficiaries in the village. This information will be vital in helping the Project plan its projects and programs for 2017. It is wonderful to see our local team using best practice methods of development to chart the course of the Project into its future. Edward will finish up as the Project Administrator in December, so we would value your continued prayers as the synod office in Lusaka works to attract applications for this important role and conduct interviews.

There were many, many tears at my farewell from the Project. Deaconess Lungu made 3 giant cakes and we shared drinks and laughter together in the recreation centre, with many of the female staff members arriving in traditional dress. I was astounded by the amount of love shown to me, and am constantly overwhelmed by the love I have in my heart for the humble way the OVC Project staff members commit themselves to their work. I am deeply humbled to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing people, and know that my heart will never be the same as a result. Thank you to everyone who supports the OVC Project financially and through your prayers. We continue to be in a time of leadership transition and ask that you remember us in prayer as we seek to be loving and gracious in all we say and do.

Until we meet again…

kt xo

The Project is seeking financial support for the following items:

∞ All or part of the salary for a new Project Coordinator (specifics of this still to be determined)
∞ Internet – $150/month
∞ Fuel – $500/month
∞ Electricity for project – $400/month
∞ Feeding Assistant Tokens – $600/month
∞ Solar pump and tank stand for new flats – any part of $7000
∞ Any contributions for tertiary pool of funds
∞ Any contributions for special school sponsorship (contact Heather for details)
∞ All or part of USD$1,000 to send two of our counsellors to this training,
We’d love you to be praying for us too:
∞ For families suffering due to the drought. Please pray for World Renew as they continue to implement a large-scale drought relief (food distribution) project in Mwandi and its surrounds. Please pray that those who need food are the recipients.
∞ For our continuing building projects.
∞ For the selection process/interview process for a new Project Coordinator to replace Edward.
∞ For a continued sense of ‘team’ to be developed amongst staff at the Project.
∞ For us (OVC Project staff and volunteers) to be a good reflection of the love and grace of Jesus to our children and the community.
∞ For our sustainability projects to be successful in raising funds locally to lessen the burden of international funding.
∞ For Katie as she settles back in Australia… specifically for a job and a permanent living arrangement to be found.

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