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Student Life


A SKIP volunteer with local children

SKIP - in Zambia

We featured SKIP in 2003, when a group of med students from Birmingham Uni went to Zambia to set up a clinic and help the local community with healthcare advice. We catch up with their progress two years on..... Report by Dave Watkins.


SKIP

SKIP - Students for Kids International Project.

SKIP aims to work with disadvantaged children around the world.

SKIP was founded by students and is run by students.

Following the successes of the 2003 and 2004 projects from Birmingham, SKIP National was formed, with registered charity status.

Dave with one of the children
Dave with one of the children

In 2003 Chris McAloon wrote an article about a new project called SKIP (Students for Kids International Projects).

Medical students from the Uni of Birmingham went out to Kanakantapa in Zambia to help set up a clinic and give health advice to local people.

SKIP logo

I was involved in last year's project, and just had to go back again this summer.  I can report that a lot has happened in the last two years.

There are now two community schools in Kanakantapa. SKIP volunteers work with the children who have been affected by Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.

These children can’t attend the government-funded schools, because of geography or finance, meaning that the two community schools are their only chance of a formal education.

Tackling health and education

Ladies cooking dinner
Cooking dinner for the children

During the summer project, SKIP contributes manpower and resources to the schools, as well as providing daily meals for the children.   

The SKIP volunteers also deliver a programme of health education to the local communities in Kanakantapa, in an attempt to tackle the main health issues there. 

We have also branched out, offer other communities in Zambia  information and advice on HIV/AIDS, as well as other health topics. 

Dispelling local myths

The local village
The local village

Katie Grange, a SKIP volunteers said: "One of the most rewarding aspects of our time in Africa was dispelling the local myths that form the root of the AIDS problem, and seeing positive results in all the people we spoke to."
  
The successes at the schools are starting to be mirrored in the surrounding community.

We are currently looking into the possibility of installing a borehole at each school, so that the schools and surrounding homes can be supplied with safe, drinkable water.

Becoming self sufficient

A couple of the children ride in the truck
A couple of the kids ride in the truck

One of the schools is taking steps to become more self-sufficient by purchasing a breeding herd of goats (Carol and Sally are both pregnant at the moment!), as well as the planting of an irrigated vegetable garden. 

The other school is starting to become involved with extra-curricular activities such as after-school sports clubs for the children.
 
Our work in Kanakantapa seems to be heading in the right direction and as a second year project returnee, it makes me so proud to see how well the children are doing and it’s this that makes the whole project so worthwhile.

I've found this year's project to be hugely satisfying and admit to a few tears on my last day.  Those that claim  "big boys don't cry" have never been to Kanakantapa.

A brighter future

Children
All the children want their photo taken!

In the future, we want to see the provision of safe water for all and the decline of malnutrition in the community, as well as the further development of the schools and HIV/AIDS intervention programme.

As we grow as a charity, we would like to see more qualified health-professionals getting involved with the project.  On a national level, it would be good to see more projects springing up around the country, helping more children in different parts of the world. 

Getting others involved

Children running after the truck
Children running after the truck

The SKIP National Conference is being hosted in Birmingham in October 2005, where delegates from many UK medical schools will meet to discuss the foundation of new SKIP projects. 

The charity’s motto is "No-one knows what he can do until he tries".

I’d encourage others to find out for themselves just what they can do, and what a difference they can make, if they really want to.

Dave, medical student and project co-ordinator of SKIP Birmingham.

===============

Read about SKIPs first year in Zambia in 2003 - a report by Chris McAloon
Skip 2003 project >
last updated: 22/08/05
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MC
Hey...Just to comment on this and praise you for all the work you have all done. Im an occupational therapy student and feel as theres a great emphasis on working as an MDT, other health profession should really take part, i as one would love to do something like this.Good job Guys :-)

hidayh
i know you are doingbthe right thing

Chris
Dave, great piece! I wrote the first report and it is amazing to see the progress you guys have made in just 2 years! Keep it up!

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