Schools in Zambia built by Sukie's scones

It’s been five years since Hawick couple Sukie and Bill Barber began baking scones for a pop-up shop in Selkirk, which raises money to provide education and food for children in Lusaka, Zambia.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:57 pm
Sukie Barber says feeding the children is the best way of getting families to send their kids to school.
Sukie Barber says feeding the children is the best way of getting families to send their kids to school.

Covid was no obstacle to Sukie’s scones, which became a delivery sevice, with orders coming in by email, leading to increased sales, with every penny heading to Africa.

Since starting the shop, Sukie has baked around 70,000 scones and other goodies, raising almost £120,000 for the charity Opportunities Zambia, which amounts to most of the charity’s income.

It’s a fantastic effort, and as well as educating and feeding the children in the Kabanana School, the project has since expanded to give adults useful new skills, including teahing machine sewing, giving the women a sewing machine so they can increase their families’ income.

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Sukie and Bill Barber with their famous scones. Photo: Stuart Cobley.

The charity also funds the sewing teacher’s salary, eight teachers at two schools, a pastor and a teaching degree for the school director of Kabanna School … the first teacher there to have a degree.

Sukie has made two visits to the school with Jess Talbot of the Selkirk Baptist Church.

Sukie said: “We taught knitting and crocheting, the latter producing cotton dish cloths for which the women were paid and the cloths brought back to sell in the UK.

“We also taught 240 women and 47 schoolgirls to make hand-sewn washable sanitary pads, something they have never had, along with a pair of black cotton knickers, all donated.

"Another trip is planned in April 2022 to do this again.”

Apart from the Pop Up shop income, the charity has received significant single donations and many others, for which they are incredibly grateful.

Sukie said: “It wasn’t until Bill counted it all up that I realised how much people have donated. We had one donation for £2,000, and I don’t even know who it was.”

One bequest in particular enabled a chicken farm to be built which will create jobs and provide an income stream, making the projects more sustainable.

Sponsored walks and an incredible cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats by Sukie’s son Harry have enabled concrete floors, hygienic loos and even a shower, new classrooms and desks to be added to the original school at Kabanana, finish an abandoned school Kapampa (built but never opened), which opened in February this year, a toilet block for Ngombe School and an entire rural school in Chongwe which opened this month, complete with drilled, hand pumped well, providing safe clean water for the whole community.

This weekend, Sukie and five others are taking on the Kiltwalk event in Glasgow, after which it’s hoped enough cash will be raised to build another school, in one of the poorest compounds in Lusaka where the children have never been to school.

Sukie said: “It is the feeding program in each school that encourages the parents to send the children. We are currently feeding over 850 children in these four schools every day and regularly contribute Miele Meal to an orphanage and school for disabled children.”

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