There are 1.2 million orphans in Zambia, primarily as a result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. All the work done by The Butterfly Tree in Zambia revolves around the well-being of these vulnerable children. Every school we work in has orphans – Mukuni Village has the highest number with a staggering 600 children, over 50%, losing one or both parents!
In October 2010 I had to deal with one of the most heartbreaking situations I have ever encountered. Baby boys, Elvis and Vincent, were born two months premature, after their mother went into early labour. She died during childbirth with a third baby. The hospital could not help them, so when they were just two weeks old, each weighing less than 3lbs, they were sent home, to the remote village of Kamwi. The Butterfly Tree has since supported these adorable little boys. I am overjoyed to tell you that this month they celebrated their fifth birthday!
Our programme has helped hundreds of orphans, and has enabled them to stay with their friends instead of having to go into orphanages. The first orphan we ever sponsored was Peter Liyungu, who went on to complete high school and is now being sponsored by Teamworks to go to college. Peter and another sponsored orphan, called Charity, recently did their work experience at Mukuni and will shortly qualify as teachers. While Josias is volunteering at N’dele School until he is offered a permanent teaching post.
For us to reach out to more orphans we are streamlining the programme. It will remain the same for every orphan who is currently being sponsored. In future rather than sponsoring individual orphans people can donate towards school fees and uniforms, this way hundreds more children can be given a chance to complete their education.
As always education is the key to overcoming poverty and its related issues. We are very grateful to all our sponsors who donate essential funds towards this programme, the guardians who look after the orphans and the volunteers who oversee the welfare of these very special children.