March sees the start of The Butterfly Tree’s tenth year working to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. We have made significant strides in education and healthcare in the Kazungula and Livingstone Districts adding new schools and clinics in remote communities. Thousands of children are receiving a sound education and healthcare facilities have improved considerably.
Our aim is to continue this vital work, but first we have to address two fundamental projects, Water and Food, to avoid a major crisis currently threatening the lives and livelihoods of numerous people living in these districts.
The rainy season in Zambia starts in November and ends in April. Some parts of Zambia have recorded good rains, sadly this is not the case in the Southern Province, where very little rain has fallen. Now the peak growing season is coming to an end and for many villages and schools there is no maize. Crops have failed to grow, resulting in a shortage of food, hunger is already apparent which will get worse over the coming months.
Water, so essential for all forms of life, is in short supply. Rivers and streams, normally flowing at this time of year, are dry. Many remote communities still have no access to safe water and have to rely on streams. We need to identify these areas and raise funds to provide additional bore holes. Fortunately all the schools we work in now have bore holes to provide safe drinking water.
If the crisis continues it is hoped that the Zambian government will send maize from the north of Zambia to the affected southern region. In the meantime The Butterfly Tree will provide further seeds and fertilizer for school feeding programmes, to enable them to grow beans, rape and cabbages using bore whole water for irrigation.
Our educational development projects with continue as normal. A 1×2 classroom block and latrines will shortly be completed at N’dele Primary School, thanks to a generous grant from the British and Foreign School Society. This month work will commence on a 1×3 classroom block, two teachers’ houses and latrines at N’gandu School, using a substantial grant from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission as a Community Works Project.
All of our work has had a big impact in these rural villages, but none more so than water projects. We need to provide more bore holes to improve health issues, reduce the number of diarrhoeal cases and to deliver a supply of water to irrigate for school gardens.