This time last year, Fairfield residents were putting the finishing touches to almost 200 Christmas boxes destined for pupils at the Shine Reading Academy, a small school in Zambia that was founded 13 years ago by Fairfield Park residents Vineet and Sian Bhatnagar. 

Sadly, there were unforeseen problems with securing a tax exemption certificate and difficulties with transportation that have taken almost a year to resolve – but the good news is that the organisers are now in communication with two shipping companies who can both get the boxes to Zambia in time for Christmas 2020! 

Sian Bhatnagar, sharing this update, said: “After the year we’ve all had, it will mean even more to the children receiving the boxes this Christmas than it would have last year, and it will hopefully feel even better for us watching the videos of them receiving them. 

“Zambia doesn’t seem to have been hit as hard as us by Covid, possibly because  they spend so much time outdoors, and they don’t travel around the country as much. The teachers at Shine continued working throughout this year, visiting our pupils where they live to provide outdoor distanced learning during the Zambian lockdown. They are now back at school enjoying learning together again. They are just coming out of the hottest month of the year so they haven’t had any problem keeping windows and doors open as they learn!” 

You can find out more about Shine at