I am pleased to report that despite the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic our new financial year has got off to a positive start. This is mostly thanks to the continual support of our loyal donors and the success of the 2.6 challenge.
The 2.6 Challenge, which took place on the 24th April was very well supported even though we had only one week to prepare. The Trustees, Jackie, myself and Miranda, with her entire family, all did activities. While Ann managed her 91- year old mother Kathleen’s activity, walking up and down the garden 26 times, which raised a substantial amount of money.
Most of our volunteers took part, Carolyn kindly held free visual exercise classes, asking people to donate. 24 people participated, several of them donors, including the entire Murphy family! My young neighbours, age 6 and 9, heroically cycled 26 kms. Some people walked 2.6 miles and 5.2 miles, others ran up and down steps 26 times, danced to the song ‘Happy’ 26 times, and a 2.6 minute headstand.
A huge thanks to everyone who took part, to our donors, and the new ones we gathered along the way! The funds raised are being used to support Zambia through the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of it will provide soap, buckets with taps, bowls, hand sanitising gel and disinfectant for schools. Pupils in grades 7, 9 and 12 who are sitting examinations later this year are to return to school on the 1st June.
Fifteen schools are being helped, funds for six of these are from the ATD Foundation. There are 70 schools in the Kazungula District, therefore we are seeking further support as they are not permitted to open without adequate protection for pupils and teachers. We are also providing rural health centres with PPE equipment as the only form of protection medical workers have are gloves. Thanks to our Canadian partner, Give A Hand, and other donors we are offering support to some 60 rural clinics.
Two of the youths that were on The Butterfly Tree orphan sponsorship programme are producing masks to donate to schools and communities, thanks to a donation from Copper Root Collectives. Alfred and Natasha, both tailors, are making medically designed masks out of colourful cotton chitengi material.
Food distributions continue as those recovering from the severe drought now find themselves with no work. Like everywhere, the tourism industry in Livingstone and the Victoria Falls has come to a standstill due to COVID-19. Mukuni Village is struggling badly, as the cultural tours have stopped and those working in hotels and tourism activities have been laid off with no pay.
To date there are around 1,000 cases of COVID-19 mostly in Lusaka and border towns. Zambia has eight borders, which makes in difficult when truck drivers are passing through daily. However, the Ministry of Health is testing the drivers and if found to be positive they must go to a designated quarantine area. It is hoped that the rural areas will be less affected.
In the coming month we hope to resume our construction projects starting with the Secondary School at Musokotwane, funded by a substantial donation from the Hilary and Neil Murphy Charitable Foundation, and the community shop in Mukuni, which will be used for uniform making and selling.
The beekeeping project at Muyunda, funded by Give a Hand, is progressing well and training will start as soon as it is safe to do so. The drilling companies have started working again, a borehole will be added for the beekeepers and seven more are to be drilled for schools and communities throughout the Kazungula District. In addition Bunsanga Health Post and five schools will receive water reticulation systems, thanks to the grant award from Corteva.
All of us are being affected in one way or another by this overwhelming pandemic and we fully realise that there is so much need in our own countries. However, I am overwhelmed by the continual support from our donors and cannot thank you enough for your generosity. Though we may raise less money for projects this coming year, The Butterfly Tree will continue operating as normal as we have no salaries, office rent or overheads to cover.
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