Letterfrack students set up woodwork training centre in Zambia
Four graduates of GMIT Letterfrack have helped set-up a woodwork training facility and teach valuable woodwork skills to young people in Maamba, a remote poverty-stricken area in Zambia devastated by AIDS. The students got involved in the project through Letterfrack lecturer Dr Paddy Tobin who first became aware of it through an Irish Sisters of Charity fundraising event in his home parish of Tourlestrane, Co Sligo.
Dr Tobin, along with Letterfrack students Fiachra McInerney from Raheen, Limerick, and Dan Wright from Liskeagh, Co. Sligo, developed a special training programme and organised equipment and materials for the new training centre, receiving generous donations of money, tools, and equipment and substantial support from GMIT, prior to their departure.
The students had just completed a B.Sc in Furniture Design and Manufacture at Letterfrack and were joined in Zambia by another graduate Ann Foley from Lisselton, Co. Kerry, BSc (Hons) in Furniture Technology, and a Letterfrack student on work placement, Ray Griffin from Athea, Co. Limerick.
The first cohort of students passed their trade exams in summer 2010 and some of them are now qualified to teach the skills programme in their village. The centre itself is now taking commercial orders and will be self-sustaining in a few years time. Such has been the success that the model is being refined to roll out in other African locations.