The Butterfly Tree has come a long way since 2006, gaining a sound reputation for transparency, attracting a global following, as well as continuing to be run by a team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers. After recently spending three weeks in Zambia there is so much to report, so many stories to tell and many people to thank.
The start of the trip was spent hosting Geoff Crill, a Commissioner from our major donor organisation, the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. After three days visiting rural schools at Kamwi, Ndele, Mukuni, Machenje, Matengu and Silelo, we ended with a visit to the newly opened clinic at Mahalulu, the Commissioner was impressed! He saw first-hand how far we have reached, the challenges we face, met our wonderful team of volunteers and personally funded the repair of the Silelo borehole. A new Community Work Project is to be funded by JOAC for the expansion of N’gandu School for 2015, when volunteers from Jersey will travel to Zambia to help with the construction of the project.
Further development is taking place at Nampuyani, where a new borehole has been added, thanks to Just a Drop and funded by Attraction Tickets Direct who also paid for the addition of latrines and restoration of the school. Previously the only source of water was collected from bacteria infected shallow wells. The three hour drive to Nampuyani was tough, driving across river beds and a little too close for comfort to bush fires! However the joy of seeing children pumping safe clean water, was both humbling and overwhelming, and well worth the effort.
Muchimbale School, also in the Nyawa Chiefdom, underwent extensive development in 2013. Now thanks to further funding from a private donor a health post is to be added to reduce the distance that this community has to walk to seek medical attention. Moving on the Musokotwane Chiefdom Simango School, with some 750 pupils, has the addition of a Special Education unit, jointly funded by St. James Place Foundation and The Besom.
Three Enactus students from Sheffield University successfully initiated two projects for school leavers in the Mukuni Chiefdom. After funding repairs to four boreholes, a sustainable WASHcom. was set up in remote villages. Six school leavers are now operating a soap-making project and supplying their products to local hotels and lodges. Among the local supporters are Safpar and Stanley Safari Lodge. Emma Kennedy, our UK volunteer, returned to Zambia for three months to assist with our grass root projects.
As always I was given a substantial amount of items to distribute, which included medical supplies, knitted items from District 6 Inner Wheel Clubs and football jerseys from York City Football Club, complete with 15 footballs donated by their CEO John McGhee. In addition we received 130 t-shirts impregnated with mosquito nets from New Textiles, Portugal. These are to be given to a remote community where there is a high prevalence of malaria and also to our Zambia volunteers. We are continuing our campaign to help the fight against malaria and to prevent further new cases in these rural villages.
Thank you to everyone for all your support – without you, none of this could have happened!