Partners in Development

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Winner of Alice Freeman Quilt

Alice Freeman donated herWinnie Rankin beautiful hand crafted  ‘Churn Disk’ quilt to Inverness County Cares.  

Winnie and Elaine Rankin took care of the ticket sales and presenting the quilt to the winner Eva MacInnis of Port Hood. 

Sponsorship

Inverness County Cares would like to thank community members for their interest in the recent working trip of six of our members. They visited St Mary’s Special School in Kawambwa and St Odilia School in Mporokoso, Zambia. Inverness County Cares still available to present our story to interested groups in Nova Scotia.Community interest has already generated twenty more Chalice sponsorships of children at these sites. These sponsorships particularly assist not only the blind, visually impaired and students with albinism who attend these schools but also their families.

The science of albinism has not reached many of the people living in remote villages. They live with the belief that people with albinism are magical or even possessed. Black magic followers believe that a potion made with body parts of an albino person will bring good fortune and success in business, politics and personal lives. They pay substantial sums of money to purchase these potions. This leads to the kidnapping, death or maiming of persons with albinism, in order to create these potions. The poverty in these areas leads desperate people to participate in the trade of albino body parts.

 In keeping with this lack of accurate information on the genetics of albinism, when a seemingly white child is born to a black family the father becomes suspicious as to the parentage of the child and this leads him to abandon his family. Because of the shame associated with albinism, the child is often hidden away because of the dishonour associated with their skin colour. This leads to a high percentage of single mothers raising albino children.

The families are often subsistence farmers earning a yearly income of $400 Canadian or less. Their survival depends on the success of the crops they grow. The red sandy soil, in the North of Zambia, with very few stones, is favourable for small scale farming. These small farmers can’t afford machinery, so they cultivate their crops and do all digging with just a large, long handled hoe, no shovels, no rakes, just the hoe. We saw old and young, male and female working in the fields with this tool. The magnitude of acres they cultivate with just this tool is remarkable. From their labour comes a variety of tasty and nutritious food to feed their families, such as maize, cassava, peanuts, potatoes and squash.

Recently the threat of drought in Zambia and surrounding countries has led to a very stressful situation. A Chalice sponsorship of one child in the family creates a safety net for the whole family. When a family is sponsored, the parents still work very hard to provide for their family, and the additional funds give them an added measure of food security. Sponsor families form a community of families who meet on a regular basis, learn how to budget and collectively support each other. These are called Family Circles and may contain fifteen to twenty-five parents helping parents. They are stronger as a team.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help ICC provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  [email protected] or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

 

Canadian Teachers in Zambia

Inverness County Cares (ICC) trip to Zambia was an eye opener when it comes to how truly fortunate, we are to live in Canada. Yes, we have cold weather and lots of snow but we live in a land of plenty. Our education System is one of the best in the world and our schools have highly qualified staff and many resources available.

The Kawambwa and Mporokoso schools are balancing a fine financial line between, adequate food, maintenance, health care and providing the teachers and students with learning support. Because of the assistance of Chalice, ICC and many Canadian supporters they have surmounted the hurdle of feeding the children, and they now have a tasty, ample and nutritious diet. This is also due to the sisters’ ambitious garden and farm program which produces much of the school’s food. 

Zambia is a product of the English Colonial system and when they left Zambia, part of their legacy was their education system and many of these methods have lingered. While our Canadian system emphasizes innovative, active learning and creative thinking, the Zambian system is still in the listen, repeat, memorize and recall mode but is beginning to move toward a more student-centred approach.

The teachers and administrative staff are committed to their teaching duties and discipline is not an issue. The students know they are fortunate to have a place where they have plenty of food and an opportunity for an education which will give them a chance to achieve a comfortable standard of living in Zambia and a sense of service to their nation.  The Kawambwa Site Schools’ administration understand the value of making resources for the blind and visually impaired students a priority, despite the expensive prices of Brailon and Braille papers.

The teachers are in need of more professional development to build on techniques which will assist children with learning challenges, mainly visual impairment and blindness. The teachers and students have a shortage of teaching and learning materials. The elementary classes have a lack of books to read, and few learning aids such as counters, blocks, alphabet cards, dominoes and games.

Students of all ages benefited from the knowledge and experience of the Canadian teachers. The delicious smells from the home Economics Class attracted the attention of teachers and students alike. Those attending the classes were introduced to new methods of preparing their native food. Several ways of serving squash, potatoes, cake and chicken were taught. When Winnie asked for two chickens for her class, she was provided with two live squawking chickens. They don’t come in a Styrofoam package in Zambia.  

Betty Jane awakened a love of music in many of the students. The heightened senses of the visually impaired drew them to the melodies coming from the music room. With her extensive musical experience, she was able to give students the gift of realizing their musical talent. The musical instruments ICC brought to the schools have awakened a new love of music in students. In the few short weeks, we were in Zambia, Betty Jane had an impromptu band formed by budding musicians.  She also put on her nurse hat and gave advice on how to use the medical supplies brought from Canada and shared medical knowledge with the teachers in the Sickbay.

Charlotte found her niche with the Braille students who enjoyed her presence and the encouragement she gave as they practiced their reading skills. They in turn taught her the very basics of Braille.  She also helped with actual teaching in the Jr High and spent a good deal of her time working individually with students who needed extra support.

 Colleen spent time in the elementary classrooms and worked with teachers to introduce creative ways of using local materials to construct teaching aids to make their classes more student centered and interactive.

Keeping in mind there is a very limited budget for learning materials we tried to come up with free materials in their environment that will act as teaching assists. Bottle caps of all colours are easily found on the school and village grounds. These bottle caps can be used to learn numbers and letters. The top side can have the capital letter printed in Sharpie marker and the inside of the cap have the lowercase letter. The same goes for the numbers.

All the children learn Braille. It is a six-cell code with different placements of these six dots. The bottle caps can be punched from the inside to form representations of the braille letters. The carpentry shop, at our request, made us some math ten frames which are used to help children learn the factors of the number ten and can be used for many other math exercises. The teachers of the blind saw another entirely different way of using them. They used the first six cells of the ten frames to teach braille to the beginners.

Since books are very limited the teachers were taught how to make books that will appeal to the sighted as well as the blind students. They used sandpaper, white glue and manilla paper to create number books.  The sandpaper created a tactile surface for the blind students. Teachers were introduced to the old favourite Canadian school book, ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’ by Bill Martin Jr. and taught how they can reproduce the idea of this book with the students through patterning.

Changing instructional methods are always a gradual process and the teachers were encouraged to involve the children in their learning by bringing lessons alive with tactile materials, games and creative involvement.

During our visit to Zambia, ICC members worked very hard to begin the task of mending infrastructure to ensure the staff, administration and children have a clean, safe and pleasant place to live and learn.  After experiencing the reality of life at the schools, Inverness County Cares is determined to address as many of the infrastructure needs as possible and make daily life at the schools more comfortable and conducive to the learning needs of the students. By the time we departed for home, we were pleased to see that the work ICC had initiated, concerning the lighting, water, sewer, windows, painting, flooring, was completed.

Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help ICC provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  [email protected] or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

Reflections on Inverness County Cares trip to Zambia

On January 22nd six Inverness County Cares (ICC) members embarked on a five-week journey which has had a great impact on their lives. For five years our organization has been supporting two Zambian schools for blind, visually impaired and students with albinism. For three members it was an opportunity to renew acquaintances and for the other three an opportunity to meet staff and students we had not yet met in person. We arrived during the cholera lockdown and students returned to school on February 12th. We used this time to work training teachers and assessing the infrastructure maintenance needs of both schools, before the arrival of the students and actually began doing maintenance work.

Zambians are a sincere and welcoming people who greeted us with warm hospitality and friendship. This on the ground reality replaced our online relationship with a real interactive rapport. With this ground zero experience we realized why some items we didn’t understand as high priority when we were in Canada, were truly extremely important. Take for example the wall-fence. Being present on a regular basis on the school compound, we realized the very important role of the wall-fence. It provides security, safety from kidnappers, and gives the students a protected designated area that is officially school grounds.

Our in-person experience helped us understand the reasons for the priorities set by the school administrators. Food was highest priority, often overriding the needs of classroom supplies, electrical, plumbing and building maintenance requirements.

It was however our interaction with the children, teachers and administration which was the most moving experience. The most stressed principle by administration with the student population is unity and caring for each other. The sisters practice what they preach and love the children unconditionally. They provide the best possible environment for all the children, whether they are boarding students, orphans or fee-paying students attracted to the school by its good reputation. We have observed instances where very poor students came to class without a lunch. The other children who do have food are expected to share with their hungry classmates.

The blind, visually impaired and students with albinism are the ones who are most striking. Those without vision navigate their school grounds remarkably well, despite the fact the grounds are uneven and after rain are slippery and muddy. When other students see they are in need they automatically guide them when helped in required.

Another very profound experience was our visit to the Good Shepherd Orphanage. This orphanage is run by the same sisters who manage the two school sites we support.  All the children there have Chalice sponsors. This orphanage has about 48 students for whom it is their only home, the home they return to on seasonal school breaks. The children there range from two to those who are taking post-secondary studies. As in St Mary’s and St Odilia schools the children love and support each other like one big family.

Through every step of the way, we were met with immense gratitude for the positive changes made to the school infrastructure and teacher training. Running water, functioning toilets and electricity to areas previously without, make a huge impact on the lives of students, staff and administration. The students and staff expressed their gratitude daily and on the way to our return flight home, we met with Bishop Patrick Chisanga specifically so he could express his appreciation for the help provided by the supporters of Inverness County Cares.

On a final note, we were able to see first hand the impact made on a whole family when a child is sponsored through Chalice. It is a total life changer. For more information on sponsoring a child contact an Inverness County Cares member or visit Chalice.ca.

 Inverness County Cares (ICC) is a local charitable organization, founded in 2012 and based in Inverness County, NS, Canada. ICC works in partnership with Chalice.ca, a Canadian charity, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Chalice provides guidance and assistance to help ICC provide a better life for the children at the Kawambwa schools. The Kawambwa Project involves supporting two schools for albino and visually impaired students, in Northern Zambia. Inverness County Cares always welcomes new members. Individuals who wish to donate, can use the donate button on our website   https://invernesscountycares.com When using E-transfer, please include your mailing address for CRA tax receipts and a thank you message.   E-transfer address:  [email protected] or send a cheque to Inverness County Cares, 5414 Route 19, Judique, NS, Canada, B0E1P0. Taxation receipts provided for USA and Canada.

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