We are pleased to inform you that container Simon is en route to Zambia. It goes without saying that our volunteers have been working tirelessly to prepare this container. Meticulously sorting, picking and packing over 800 boxes of tool kits and equipment. Despite COVID related restrictions and setbacks, it’s been filled at record speed. A testament to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. As well as, of course, the generosity of the public with your donations.

At times it was easy to feel a little disheartened due to the forever changing circumstances with COVID-19. Container Simon is the 4th we have been able to send this year, while typically we send eight annually. In the face of all the obstacles placed in our way this year, we have persevered and found new and more efficient ways of working.

Furthermore, Emmanuel Zulu of the Vwila Foundation has been in dialogue with the Lusaka Youth Resource Centre and the Zambian Ministry of Youth to develop a new training programme. The ambition is to establish a nationally accredited course in sewing machine maintenance and repair. While this will be initially rolled out as a pilot scheme we are hopeful that it will be a resounding success.

This training will go a long way in empowering youth by providing them with the skills to be self-sufficient and will inevitably result in a steady income. In the long term, this will reduce their reliance on Workaid and other similar organisations as it garners a life of its own.

Additionally, this has inadvertently provided a solution to the large surplus of sewing machines that we had accrued this year. COVID guidelines meant that we have had to work at reduced capacity. Making the workshop as safe as possible has meant that we have had fewer volunteers on-site to ensure social distancing and this has led to unavoidable delays. As expected these measures have had a knock-on effect on our efficiency. Therefore, this course has had a double benefit as sewing machines in reasonable condition with minor defaults will be sent to this project.

Overall, this project will enable trainees to become self-sufficient as they are setting up businesses to utilise their skills. In the long term, this will have a lasting positive footprint and cultivate more resilient communities.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our website to see regular updates. As Buckinghamshire has moved to tier 3 we unfortunately have to shut our workshop and shop doors once more until further notice. While we sadly we cannot welcome any donations or people in our shop until the new year you can still support Workaid. Our Virtual Gifts are the perfect gift this Christmas. They will have a direct impact on breaking the cycle of poverty, buy a gift and change a life. Alternatively, by going through Easyfundraising when shopping online you can donate to Workaid at no extra cost to you.