2014–15 has been an extremely successful year for The Butterfly Tree, with donations and grant aid increasing by 30%. We gained many new donors and have reached out to several new schools and communities. I am astounded by the continued support from our loyal donors, volunteers and fundraisers, who have generously donated money and free time to help us continue this vital work. The grass root projects, which include education advancements, bore holes and improved healthcare, have also continued to grow. Our exciting new malaria prevention project is shortly to be launched.
Please follow the link to view the full Annual Report, Photos and Accounts: Annual Report 14-15
For the past twelve months we have been working with Vectorcide (a UK company), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Zambian Malaria Control Centre and the Ministry of Health, to introduce two innovative malaria prevention methods that are perceived to be the most superior products currently available globally. This is a huge opportunity for us and most humbling to know that we have the potential to help save thousands of lives. The first distribution will be going to the Mukuni Chiefdom in July. In addition we received a donation of repellent t-shirts that offer a further form of protection.
Over the years we have gained a sound reputation for transparency and for getting the job done! When in Zambia I drive to all the villages we are supporting. Sometimes it can be hazardous, but this way I am able to report first hand the remakable difference The Butterfly Tree is making. Earlier this year we received a substantial grant to develop N’gandu School, which dates back to 1947, and is in dire need of expansion. Further grant aid enabled us to expand N’dele School, a substantial donation paid for extensive development at Nampuyani School and one for restoration at Manyemuyemu.
We continue to sponsor the education of orphans in several schools. We are extremely grateful for the on going support from our many sponsors, some joining us way back in 2006. Personally I believe one of our greatest achievements is to see former sponsored pupils attending teacher’s training college and other further education establishments. Three of them have returned to Mukuni to do work experience at the school. Others are studying agriculture and engineering, some are volunteering in schools and clinics, while others have sought employment.
Another special education unit has been added to Simango school, making this our fourth one in rural schools. Earlier this year we handed over The Butterfly Tree’s pre-school in Mukuni Village to the mainstream school. The government has finally incorporated pre-schools into their curriculum. In sport, Mukuni football teams, received football kits from York City Football Club.
Health and water issues continue to dominate our work. Besides the prevelance of malaria, which has sadly been on the increase due to the escalation in drug-resistance, we must continue to address HIV, particularly amongst youths. We provide funds for HIV prevention through peer eudcation workshops using ‘Meet Mutsa’s’ successful method. These young peer educators are making substantial progress by spreading awareness of the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Furthermore the CEF goat project, funded by US donors, provides goat’s milk for vulnerable infants and children at risk from malnutrition.
Sometimes I am overcome with emotion when I visit these communities and see the improvements, most recently at the new clinic at Muchambile funded by private donors who have ‘adopted’ the school and village. The health centre at Mahalulu is now fully operational, complete with maternity clinic, women’s shelter, staff houses, bore hole and latrines. The school bore holes are invaluable and have helped to reduce the number of diarrhoeal diseases in children as well as providing irrigation for sustainable school vegetable gardens.
Nine community houses were constructed for widows looking after orphans, some built by UK volunteers. Each year we attract a considerable number of volunteers from all walks of life. This past year we received volunteers and visitors from the UK, Norway, France, New Zealand, Australia, USA and South Africa. Mukuni Village has become a global gathering!
Besides volunteers we attract travel philanthropists and tourists. Our base at Mukuni Village is just seven kilometres from Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site, where visitors can come and see how just a small donation can make a huge difference.
2006 was when it all began by sponsoring a few orphans and raising funds for a high school. Since then our work has expanded to four Chiefdoms, offering improved water, as well as health and education facilities to thousands of orphans and vulnerable children. This has happened because of the commitment and dedication of our teams of volunteers both in the UK and Zambia. I wish to express my gratitude to fellow Trustees David and Miranda for all their help and advice, and welcome to the board of Trustees, Wendy Callaway, a long-term donor and volunteer of the charity. A special thanks to Ann Sutton for her extensive contribution in administering the charity accounts, to Carolyn for efficiently organising the volunteer programme, to Oscar for his asssitance, and to Emma for helping with the orphan sponsorship and her volunteer work in Zambia. Also my sincere thanks to Frank Maiolo, our US representative, who has promoted and supported the charity since 2008.
I receive some wonderful comments and unnecessary applause for what we have achieved in these rural villages. However, none of it could have been accomplished without the devotion and effort of our amazing team in Zambia: Mupotola Siloka (Secretary & Project Manager), Presley Mulenga (Head of Education), Martin Mushabati (Ground Operations Manager), Rosemany Siloka (Treasurer), Stain Musungaila (Malaria Prevention) and Sibeso Maseke (Environmetal Officer). A special thanks to Chief Mukuni for his counsel, and the local tour operators and hoteliers who support our work.
We will continue to work at grass root level, reaching out to remote areas of need, and with the support of the Ministry of Health we aim is to extend the malaria prevention programme to national level to reduce the number of lives lost and days of absenteeism due to sickness.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has helped to make The Butterfly Tree an established and globally recognised charity. I would personally like to thank every single donor from around the world and apologise for not being able to name everyone. A special thanks to our major donors – the Jersey Oversees Aid Commission, the British and Foreign School Society, Saga Charitable Trust, Just a Drop, ENRC Marketing AG, The Besom, Cunninghams, Attraction Tickets Direct, Black and White Accounting and the Mukuni Village Fund (Australia), not forgetting the Inner Wheel Clubs District 6, who selected The Butterfly Tree, for the past two years, as their International Charity of the Year!