As many of you know The Butterfly Tree has successfully run an orphan sponsorship programme since 2006. Thousands of orphans have benefitted from our support, which includes better education and health facilities, access to safe water and school feeding programmes. All our work revolves around vulnerable children in rural areas of Zambia.
Due to the recent allegations that have come to light concerning Oxfam volunteers, we would like to assure you that we take Child Protection very seriously and do everything in our power to ensure that the children we support are safe. Because of these issues we are currently updating our Child Protection Policy, which will shortly be published.
Our volunteers in Zambia are made up of local people, most of them have been with us since the founding of The Butterfly Tree. The orphan sponsorship programme is overseen by local women and school teachers, with the exception of Kamwi School, where Mafian, a former beneficiary, checks on the welfare of orphans and sources new ones that need support. The peer education programme for HIV prevention is organised by former sponsored orphans.
Most of our UK volunteers help with administration and fundraising only, and do not work ‘hands on’ in Zambia. All of us that do visit Zambia, and other volunteers, including international ones, have to produce a DBS or the equivalent from their country, and must be dedicated to helping the cause rather than using it as a holiday.
For the past ten years we’ve welcomed an array of teachers, nurses, social workers and business people who have provided invaluable assistance within the communities, schools and clinics. They are accompanied by members of The Butterfly Tree, school teachers or medical officers. To strengthen our aim to protect children and vulnerable people we are also updating our criteria and selection process, and will only accept those volunteers who have something worthwhile to offer.
On a positive note – at the start of this new school year in Zambia we have offered sponsorship to many more needy children thanks to gaining new sponsors, as well as existing donors, including the Mukuni Village Trust, Australia, and others that have agreed to support an orphan after their original pupil completed school. Though the orphan’s results are not always the best, many of these young people have gained a sound basic education, progressed to further education or sought employment.
We apologise to those of you who are awaiting updates and details of new orphans, and will be in touch as soon as the Child Protection Policy has been approved. Thank you for your patience and understanding.