Let me introduce myself, I am Maurizio Testa, co-founder of Weakrisk and I would like to briefly explain why WeakRisk supports Santina Gusmini Onlus Association.
With my wife, Santina Gusmini, who passed away suddenly 10 years ago, I shared a passion for travelling, visiting over 140 countries, out of curiosity to get to know mankind.
Upon her dead, I decided to commit myself to the following charity project in favour of the poorest countries in Africa: train early childhood teachers who live in the most deprived villages and afterwards allow them to welcome the children in a kindergarten we built in their home village.
Despite I searched for a long time, I did not find any organisation that pursues this objective. Western associations involved in education in Africa, account for less than 10% of the total number of NGOs operating on the continent, and those focusing on early childhood for less than 1%. So I decided to get involved directly, supported by some friends.
Thanks to contacts made during previous trips, I met an Italian couple who have been living in Zambia, in Chipata, in the north east of the country, for 25 years. They have always been committed to solidarity and have contacts with both the environment and the Zambian Ministry of Education.
In 2020, we completed a first project which was also a feasibility test.
In 9 months we were authorised and we constructed and completed the buildings and ancillary structures for two schools, a kindergarten and a primary school in the village of Kaulembe.
The buildings have been completed, everything went well and the schools are now fully operational. The project was financed by myself and some friends and cost 40,000.00 euro in total.
From the experience gained in the construction of the two schools, we have drawn useful information for implementing our original project, which also includes teacher training.
We therefore started by choosing the villages involved and obtaining ministerial authorisation. Once these two phases were completed, we defined the economic terms of the project, which will be called “Gli Asili di Santina Gusmini”.
In short, after having chosen nine villages in the Chalumbe area and having proceeded to the selection of the candidate teachers, the project will be developed in these terms:
- Two-year duration: 2022 / 2023;
- Activation of two annual short training courses for 9 aspiring teachers, each of 6 weeks of theory, divided into three modules of two, plus one week of practice at a kindergarten in Chipata (the first course started in December 2021, in the photographs below students and teachers);
- Construction of 8 kindergartens, one for each pair of teachers (Kaulembe already exists)
- Inclusion of the trained teachers in the kindergarten built in their own village with a salary paid by the local community.
The total cost of the project is €160,000.00.
I have committed myself to covering the costs for the first two years of teaching, inclusive of board and lodging for candidates, teachers’ salaries and transport, as well as the building of two kindergartens. All this implies a cost of 60,000.00 euros, which, if not raised through events or donations, will be covered by my own funds. However, the project envisages the construction of 6 more kindergartens: the cost for the complete building, equipment, teaching materials and a playground is 17,000.00 euro per kindergarten.
Compared to Western standards, it is a modest cost, but for those children it means a lot, because they have nothing. Today, in the chosen villages, volunteers look after the children, either using a mud hut or the primary school in the afternoon, or the shade of a tree, in one case even using a church.
I am therefore looking for donors who will bear the burden for the complete construction of a kindergarten.
Since the Santina Gusmini Onlus Association, which I chair, is solely responsible for this initiative and is managed by me in all its own aspects, donors – as well as getting to know me personally and having any preliminary clarifications from me – will be able to follow the development of the project, be constantly updated on its implementation and have documentation of what has been achieved. They will also be entitled to dedicate the kindergarten to a loved one, with a plaque that will be displayed inside the school itself. Above all, if they wish, donors will also be free to come to Zambia and physically touch the fruit of their generosity.
Our Association is a registered non-profit organisation, so the donor can also benefit from a tax deduction of the amount donated (in the case of donations made by companies the deduction is 35%, in the case of individuals the deduction is 30%). Of course for companies and private donors liable to Italian taxation.
For those interested in making a donation our IBAN is IT89I0306924232100000004439
We are in the process of registering the Association as a Third Sector Organisation with legal personality. Our Association invests 100% of the donations in the Project and these children deserve it, because “education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”, as Nelson Mandela, a person who left us something about change, used to say. Anyone who would like more information can consult our website www.santinagusminionlus.org or contact me directly or via the website for a personal interview.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Santina Gusmini Onlus