After months of staying at home due the coronavirus pandemic, with no laptops or computers to access online education, Zambian children are back in school. From June to late August only examination grades were allowed to attend education facilities, but now under strict safety guidelines schools are operating and the children are eager to learn.
The Butterfly Tree continues to donate soap, hand sanitising gel and disinfectant to schools and clinics. The Zambian government stated that masks are compulsory, and that parents and guardians must provide them. Though they cost only 30p for many parents this is not possible. After a year of drought, followed by COVID-19, which has resulted in the international tourist industry for Livingstone, Victoria Falls and Kazungula, coming to standstill, poverty levels have increased.
River View, our flagship school has opened its doors to 1,500 pupils and has been highly commended by the Ministries of Health and Education thanks to our support. The new satellite school, opened this year, has enabled more children to access education in Kazungula. Being close to the border to Botswana this area has a high prevalence of HIV – it is imperative that children are education to prevent them being enticed into prostitution and trafficking. It is hoped that the new bridge linking Zambia to Botswana will prevent truck drivers having to stay overnight in Kazungula.
Hunger continues to be an issue therefore we are providing pupils that are boarding at both River View and Mukuni with food. Throughout this challenging year we have ensured that all orphans and vulnerable children, under The Butterfly Tree sponsorship, receive regular bags of maize. Due to the weak economy we can now purchase a bag of maize for just £6.
I am pleased to say that we are sponsoring more orphans this term, thanks to new sponsors offering support. In addition to Mukuni, children at N’gandu, Kamwi, Ndele, River View and Kazungula Boarding School are being helped. The Mukuni Village Trust, Australia provides funds for 45 children. A further 6 students are being sponsored at universities and colleges and a grant from Theirworld has enabled five girls to do a one-year diploma course in Livingstone. Thousands more vulnerable children are gaining a sound education.
The Butterfly Tree is currently expanded Musokotwane Secondary School with the addition of a 1×3 classroom block, a science lab, boarding houses, and toilets, generously funded by the Hilary and Neil Murphy Charitable Foundation. A new water system for their garden, will provide a sustainable feeding programme for the school.
A further five are being funded from a grant award, which we received from Corteva Agriscience, USA. The grant has also helped with food distribution and the installation of six boreholes. Our aim is to help more schools as the food they provide is often the only meal a child will receive.
Mindful that the demand for donations is escalating everyway I cannot thank enough everyone of our donors who continue to support The Butterfly Tree and some of Zambia’s 1.2 million orphans. Numerous lives have been transformed and these vulnerable children have hope!
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