In the past five years The Butterfly Tree has concentrated on advancing the water, food, health and education facilities and has made a difference to the lives of thousands of people in the Mukuni Chiefdom and beyond. Now we are to take this a step further thanks to the help of international volunteers who will be working with the charity to initiate projects which will include peer educating, improvement in education methods and sustainability.
Mutsa Marau from London has spent the past year raising funds to visit Mukuni and introduce a peer education system at Mukuni Basic and High Schools. HIV/AIDS remains the major problem within the Mukuni community leaving almost fifty per cent of the children orphaned. One in six adults is HIV positive and the longevity is merely thirty six years of age. Mutsa is determined to make her HIV and AIDS Prevention project work; educating pupils between the ages of twelve and twenty about the dangers of HIV, holding workshops and teaching during her four month visit to the village.
Joining Mutsa will be Petteri Alppi from Finland who is a student at University College, London and a member of their Global Development Initiatives. Although the teaching standards in Zambia are good many pupils fail their exams due to a lack of materials and teaching staff. Petteri has compiled educational data to help improve English and Mathematics skills at the schools. He will also assist the charity by documenting and producing videos of our projects, volunteering and the Zambian cultural way of life.
For the third consecutive year Margaret Bax and Casey Short from Oregon will be returning to Mukuni to continue their work with sustainable projects. A successful chicken farming enterprise has given a number of women an opportunity to have an income-generating activity. Last year Margaret and Casey started a goat-rearing project to assist The Butterfly Tree’s under fives’ feeding program. One of our most successful projects to date this requires a large injection of funds and due to the high cost of formula only a limited number of infants can participate. The project provides formula, to replace breast milk in women who are HIV positive, to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child. Since 2007 all infants partaking on this program have been tested free of HIV. The production of goat’s milk will provide a nutritional supplement for this feeding program.
Our aim is to make the Mukuni Chiefdom projects models for other areas of need.