The past year has been challenging for everyone not least for the charity sector. Though our funding was down on previous years I am delighted to say that we have made a great start to the new financial year. Since the first of April we have received a substantial boost for our health, education, and community projects.
The support we are getting from both existing donors and new ones is quite remarkable. As always our aim is to better the lives and opportunities for orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. Thanks to a substantial donation from The Murphy Family Foundation, further education is to be offered to many more pupils. Those that have been on The Butterfly Tree’s sponsorship programme and completed school in 2020, are being offered an opportunity to go to university or college to gain an academic degree, or a skilled-based diploma. In addition, The Foundation has donated some of the funding for the purchase much needed textbooks.
This year we are supporting 9 students at university and college, studying the following topics: teaching, biomedicine, nursing, forward and clearing, and hotel management. Musenga, who was head boy at River View School, has just commenced a three-year nursing course. Owen from Mukuni, was recently awarded a good degree in biomedicine. We are also sponsoring 227 pupils at Mukuni, Ngandu, Kamwi, Ndele, River View and Kazungula Boarding School. So many of you have kindly supported orphans since 2006, for which we are grateful.
Kamwi Junior School is under a development after receiving two private donations. Currently the school goes up to grade 7, after which pupils must walk a distance of 9 km, each way, to join grades 8 to 12 at Mukuni Secondary School. This will make a huge difference, especially for girls, who are vulnerable when walking alone. Expansion is also taking place at Muchambila and Muyunda Primary Schools, after receiving funds from a private donor who previously funded the school’s two classroom blocks.
On the health front, funding received for our malaria prevention programmes, in Zambia, has been significant. The Association of Inner Wheel Clubs have given us overwhelming support with so many of their individual Clubs and Districts donating to this vital cause. Fundraising has not been easy during the coronavirus pandemic, but what they have achieved is commendable. Stratford-upon-Avon Rotary Club recently gave the charity a donation for 300 mosquito nets to help eliminate malaria.
One fundraiser tripled her target to raise money for mosquito nets. The founder of 52 Stitched Stories came up with a wonderful initiative, selecting butterflies as the theme, to raise money for mosquito nets. After gaining a global audience during 2020’s lockdown Fiona, the Founder, recently held a virtual Stitching Festival. Her committment resulted in raising enough money to purchase 500 mosquito nets.
After receiving further support from the Sacred Heart Foundation, London, two mother’s shelters are being built at Siakachapa and Manyemuyemu health centres. These are a great benefit for rural women enabling them to stay close to the clinic prior to the onset of labour. Additional support from this Foundation is funding HIV prevention peer education workshops, which are vital in preventing new case of HIV, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse. The Butterfly Tree has added mother’s shelters to the following health centres: Mukuni, Musokotwane, Kasiya, Mahalulu, Mambova, Sikaunzwe and Singwamba.
After a reduction in COVID-19 Zambia are experiencing an increase in cases this month. We have supplied 13 schools and 10 rural health posts with PPE thanks to a generous donations from Blooms the Chemist, Australia. We continue to be mindful of our local Zambian team that they are taking care to prevent contracting coronavirus, while waiting to receive the vaccination. Currently, it is being rolled out to health workers.
Last but by no means least I am delighted to be initiating a further project for 200 women funded by Give a Hand, our Canadian partner. The organisation has previously funded a beekeeping project for 200 women in Muyunda and a mango project, entitled ‘Mangoes of Hope’ for 200 women in Muyunda. Now women in Sekute Chiefdom will be given a chance to have a food producton project, rearing chickens and growing vegetables. These community projects are an invaluable way of providing a sustainable income-generating enterprises for vulnerable women. Besides empowering them it gives them an opportunity to better their lives and to educate their children.
We are delighted to be able to develop more schools and health centres in the Kazungula District and would like thank everyone who has supported The Butterfly Tree during these difficult times.