It is almost ten years since The Butterfly Tree started its orphan sponsorship programme in Zambia, to date around 1,000 individual orphans have received a sound basic education. Many pupils have since completed high school, others are attending college, while a number have sought employment.
In the early days it was fairly simple to get to know each individual orphan and give regular feedback to the sponsors, especially as they were all attending Mukuni Basic School. The programme has grown considerably and we now offer sponsorship to orphans in other schools, including N’gandu, Kamwi, N’dele and Mahalulu.
Within a short time we realised that it is not only education that the orphans in these remote villages need. Besides going to school they must have safe water to drink, access to better healthcare, improved housing conditions, and sanitation facilities. Consequently we created a holistic approach to the welfare of these vulnerable children by adding bore holes and latrines in schools, building clinics and providing new methods for malaria prevention, as well as workshops for HIV prevention.
As a result of this approach we have been able to reach out to several thousand children in the Mukuni, Musokotwane, Sekute and Nyawa Chiefdoms. We have built entire new schools in areas where children had never attended school. Virtually every project we do is for the benefit of the orphans.
In September 2012 when HRH The Princess Royal visited our projects at Mukuni Village, at the end of her tour she said ‘working with orphans is not easy, but you seem to have got it right.’
Now as we approach our second decade our aim is to expand into other Chiefdoms and communities that receive little help. We will continue with the orphan sponsorship programme, but due to the enormous amount of time it takes to administer the programme it is hoped that our sponsors will understand that it is not always possible to give regular updates on each individual child.
We are delighted to tell you that we have been able to sustain our ability to run the charity both in the UK and Zambia entirely by volunteers, with the addition of Frank Maiolo who helps with our orphan support programme in the USA. Most of them have been with us since 2006, and thanks to their dedication and commitment these orphans have a much better chance in life.