I feel incredibly lucky to once again go back to Zambia to see the progress your donations have made and to meet up with our wonderful local team. Their tireless efforts to help the people most in need never seizes to amaze me. Currently we have construction works taking place in Sekute, Mukuni and Nyawa Chiefdoms and I managed to get to virtually all of them!
River View is now one of the best schools in the District. In addition to the 1×4 classroom block added last year, the science lab is almost complete, which means that pupils no longer have to travel 60km to Livingstone to sit their exams. A further science lab is currently under construction in Nyawa where pupils travel up to 120km to reach an examination centre. Both these projects have been generously funded by the Hilary and Neil Charitable Trust.
Donations have also helped the communities in Kauwe and Singwamba to expand their schools and permanent structures are being built at Nakawa Pre-school thanks to funding from the ATD Foundation. A donation for 60 desks for Kauwe School was received from the Souter Charitable Trust. As the biggest contributor to education in the entire Kazungula District, The Butterfly Tree is continually praised by the Ministry of Education.
A new partnership with Leap Learning, Norway has helped to further advance education at River View School. While I was there the Founder, Marit and her colleague Adrian, set up the lab and the children immediately responded to this new form of learning with the use of technology and game stations. We aim to raise funds to add more learning labs in schools.
An entire new health centre for the people of Sikaunzwe will make a significant difference. With 8,500 people depending on this facility the addition of a new clinic, maternity unit, women’s shelter and latrines as well as beds and equipment will help considerably. This is being funded by a generous grant from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, and will also include the purchase of 1,000 mosquito nets.
The highlight of my trip was to watch the entire process of water being sourced at Mukalahani Village. I was on site at 8am with Katie, the donor and founder of Soap2Hope. For over four hours we patiently waited while the drilling machine dug deeper and deeper until suddenly the deposits of sad turned to mud and eventually water spouted out. The jubilation of the community was a wonderful site to see and by 4pm the Indian hand pump was installed. This is one of six boreholes that we have added in the past few months.
The community housing project for the elderly, widows and orphans continues to grow thanks to Motive Real Estate, Texas who funded 11 out of 12 houses. and also gave a donation for a chicken project for women in Kamwi Village. A further 6 houses are currently under construction.
On the malaria front I am delighted to report that our interventions are having a real impact. The number of cases in Moomba Chiefdom have reduced by two thirds, with most of the cases this year coming from settlers who were relocated from a game reserve, after we had applied the insecticidal coating. In Nyawa, where we distributed the malaria prevention products and mosquito nets, since April no new cases of malaria have been recorded.
One of the toughest, though very rewarding projects I worked with during my time in Zambia, was holding workshops on HIV prevention, early pregnancies and alcohol abuse at Mukuni, N’gandu and Kamwi Schools. Life is so difficult for these young people, that not only live in an area of extreme poverty, but an area of high HIV prevalence – they have suffered so much loss. However, I have learnt a great deal over the years, improving the ways to get the message over and hope that the orphans in particular will benefit from these sessions, which will be continued by our trained peer educators.
There was one more thing I needed to do before I headed back to the UK and that was to wish Vincent and Elvis, the Kamwi Twins, a ‘Happy Birthday’. Now eight years old The Butterfly Tree has sponsored them since their mother sadly died during childbirth with their baby sister. They are an absolute joy and like most Zambians they love football – credit must be given to their grandmother who has continued to nurture them.
Many thanks to all of you for your tremendous support.