With just over one month until December 25th, the shops are laden with Christmas merchandise, and festivity planning is underway. It is during this period that charities welcome extra funding and this year The Butterfly Tree is running an appeal for the continued food crisis is Southern and Western Zambia.
Thankfully the rains have started, now people are preparing the fields to plant crops, but it will be some months before harvest. After last season’s poor rains when crops throughout the entire region perished, there is a great deal of hunger. Some communities are living on local fruits and wild roots, though the latter can be poisonous, resulting in some children being hospitalized after eating them.
Heartbreaking stories are emerging. In the remote area of Dundumwezi two women have lost their lives after giving birth. Having no food of their own they appealed to neighbours who were unable to help them as they were in the same situation. In another area an old lady passed away as she had no one to provide her with food.
Since April The Butterfly Tree has been distributing thousands of bags of maize to people in remote areas of the Kazungula District, who are in desperate need. If we can continue this for the next few months more lives can be saved. We cannot help everyone, but we are certainly preventing a famine in communities where we work.
The resilience of these people is truly remarkable. Last week one woman with four young children, after hearing we were distributing maize in Muyunda, walked 15km – unfortunately, she was too late. Not to be deterred she visited one of our volunteers who was able to give her a bag of maize. Happily, she placed it on top of her head then walked the 15km back to her village, with her offspring!
I cannot praise our Zambian volunteers enough – they are outstanding! The whole operation is being impleted with precision and transparency. Headmen are called upon to select the most needy, including orphans and the elderly. Maize is ordered, sometimes we are only allocated 200 or 300 bags, per day, due to the high demand and load-shedding. Transport is arranged, then distribution points are selected, schools being the main locations as they have secure storage rooms.
We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported our appeal, most especially GOAC for approving an Emergency Relief Grant, the Hilary and Neil Murphy Charitable Trust and the ATD Foundation, and everyone else who has shared our concern and offered support.
A bag of maize costs just £9 and will feed a family of four for one month. If you would like to donate please use our donate page. In addition sales of our charity desk top calendars will be used for the food crisis. Each page of the calendar is sponsored and costs £4. 100% of all money raised will go directy to the cause. We would like to thank the following sponsoring the pages : Touch Gold Racing, Grenfell James, Dawson Group, The Fell Group, Casa Colomba, Zebra Accounting, St Matthews, Stuart Rivers, 2OC, Vectorcide International, Britelines and Miranda are Morphity for once again designing the calendars. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order.
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