I have pleasure in presenting our latest Annual Report and Accounts. For the full report please use this link: Annual Report and Accounts 2016 – 17
Please note that these will not be published on the Charity Commission website until after the 31st August due to the Commission developing a new on line portal.
This has been a remarkable year for the charity, with new donors, fundraisers and volunteers enabling The Butterfly Tree to venture into new outreach communities in Zambia. Several thousand additional orphans and vulnerable children are gaining a basic education, receiving improved healthcare and drinking safe, clean water.
One of our most successful achievements is that of malaria prevention, with facts proving that our new interventions, are helping to save lives. Mukuni Chiefdom has recorded zero deaths from malaria for the past five years. The combination of insecticidal coating being painted on the inside of dwellings, the use of larvicide granules in ponds and streams to prevent larva developing into mosquitos, and the distribution of mosquito nets, has provdided maximum coverage in several villages. In Chuunga Village alone the number of cases in the past three years has been reduced by ninety percent.
As always, the orphans are at the forefront of our work. More individual orphans are being sponsored, which include 40 by the Mukuni Village Fund, Australia. What gives me a great deal of pleasure is to see orphans that we started sponsoring in 2006 completing school and gaining a college certificate and employment. Besides helping with their education eight houses were built for widows and the elderly looking after orphans.
Certainly, the most remarkable story is that of Brain Mulwali who is currently training to become a pilot, while others are on agricultural and teacher training courses. It is wonderful to see some of them teaching pupils at their old schools. It is not easy to obtain a college sponsorship as the cost is much higher than school fees. Therefore, we encourage school leavers to volunteer for the community, to give somehting back and to help make a difference.. while they are waiting for a place.
At the forefront of these young volunteers are the Mukuni Youth Empowerment Group, who have received extensive training and coaching from two of our UK volunteers. I am so impressed with their dedication and determination into helping to make a change as peer educators. Working in schools, their HIV prevention workshops, which include the dangers of early pregnacies, alcohol and drug abuse and human rights, are truly making an impact.
As always education projects continue to gain support. Six schools are being developed or expanded, vast amounts of desks, text books and unifroms have been donated. Four schools received bore holes, providing safe water to over 3,000 pupils and teachers, and 20 schools received seeds and fertilizers to grow food to for sustainable feeding programmes. I am delighted to say that after two years of drought, good rains this year yielded bumper crops!
Zambia has many skilled and trained health workers, but sadly the rural facilities are inadequate. This year we improved the facilities at Mukuni Health Centre with a new drainage and sanitation system. Donations of equipment and medical supplies were given to Mambova, Muchambila, Mukuni, Singwamba and Livingstone General Hospital. As always I enjoyed distributing some of the 800 mosquito nets to remote villages in Mukuni Chiefdom, while others were sent to Singwamba in Nyawa Chiefdom, where there is a high prevalence of malaria.
I have been overwhelmed by the support not just in the UK, but from all over the world, with volunteers working alongside us from Canada, USA, Australia, UAE and the UK. During my visit to Zambia in March it was wonderful to meet people who genuinely wanted to help both the charity and these needy communities. Not only were they generous in giving up their time, but also funded projects for schoolss and clinics.
Besides the volunteers some of our donors come to meet the orphans they are sponsoring or to see the projects they have funded. Travel philanthropy is something that I have always promoted, as this is how I ended up founding The Butterfly Tree. Mukuni Village is just seven kilometres from the mighty Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site visited by tousands of tourists each year. It need only take a couple of hours to visit a rural community and to see the life-changing work done by The Butterfly Tree. Many people report that a visit to Mukuni or a similar village was the highlight of their holiday.
As always none of the achievements could have been possible without the committed and hardworking team of volunteers in both the UK and Zambia, who to contribute their time by raising funds and adminstering the entire operation. The UK team, which grows each year, are totally committed to the cause, and I would especially like to thank my fellow Trustees Miranda, Ann and Wendy for taking on this repsonsible role. David has now stepped down due to his career, but stays on as a volunteer. A special thanks to our volunteers David, Carolyn, Oscar, and Valerie, who joined us after raising funds through her District’s Inner Wheel Clubs. We are looking forward to welcoming on board Leah, who recently volunteered with the charity in Zambia. Working with the young peer educators, Leah is a qualified Youth Worker. As always it’s great to have overseas volunteers and I would like to thank Marilee and Grant Gibson in Canada and Frank Maiola, our US representative.
The team in Zambia are not just a team, but amazing people who have managed and administered all our projects since 2006. Their tireless commitment has taken us into some of the remotest areas of the Southern Province to build schools and clinics, in areas where no other charity has ventured. Some of my happiest times are spent driving the team to new villages, meeting the local people and learning about their needs.
As always, I would like to sincerely thank the Zambian team for all they have done for the charity and communities: Mupotola Siloka (Secretary & Project Manager), Presley Mulenga (Head of Education), Martin Mushabati (Ground Operations Manager), Stain Musungaila (Malaria Prevention) and Sibeso Maseke (Environmetal Officer), who oversees our malaria, HIV/AIDS and water projects. I applaud the work and commitment of the young volunteers, who are the future of The Butterfly Tree. A special thanks to Chief Mukuni for his counsel, and the local tour operators and hoteliers who support our work.
Last, but by no means least, a tremendous thank you to every single individual, each company, club, church and organisation who has believed in us and continue to support our vital work in Zambia. Every donation, however small, helps us to make a difference. I was deeply touched to learn of Anna, a young school girl, who did a 42 mile walk with her father to raise funds for mosquito nets. Our major donors Jersey Oversees Aid, British and Foreign School Society, Attraction Tickets Direct, Mukuni Village Fund (Australia), Motive Real Estate (Texas), School in a Bag, The Besom, and Nationwide Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs, especially Solihull for their donation in memory a fellow member, have considerably boosted funds this year – I can only say a huge thank you to them and everyone else around the globe, including Larry and Gaylen Robbins, for your generous support. This coming year is looking very promising. We are looking forward to working with the the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission and other new and existing donors in the next few months.