The stable diet for Zambians is maize, which is heavily dependent on rain. The rainy season in Zambia runs between November and April, seeds are planted in November. Too much rain and the seeds rot, insufficient rain results in poor crops.
Children living in remote villages have to walk long distances to get to school, often without having eaten breakfast, for many hunger is normal. Poor diet and insufficient food effects their concentration and stamina. The Butterfly Tree provides a daily nutritional meal for vulnerable and orphaned children in Mukuni Village and initiates sustainable feeding programs in many other schools. A balanced diet of n’shima (maize), beans, vegetables and kapenta (dried fish) will sustain the children, particularly those who live so far from the school.
Sixteen schools annually receive seeds and fertilizer to enable them to grow their own produce. Maize is dried and stored for the long ‘dry’ season, vegetables and beans are grown using the bore hole water we have provided for drinking and irrigation.
Sadly 2014-15 saw a poor rainy season and alarmingly 2015-16 is following in the same path. Areas drought and unseasonably high temperatures are being reported in the Southern Province. Last year most maize crops in the Southern Province perished as the crops are rain dependent. We have encouraged schools to grow sorghum, which is less rain dependent as well as more vegetables. Water from bore holes can be used to irrigate school gardens, especially when the river and streams run dry. Our aim is continue to raise funds to enable more schools to initiate sustainable feeding programmes.