I recently returned from three wonderful and rewarding weeks in Zambia with temperatures ranging from 38 to 41 degrees and the time simply flew by. The Butterfly Tree has so many new and exciting on gong projects that it was impossible to visit all of them. I did manage to drive to many of them some of which are in the remote areas of Nyawa.
These include the new health post at Mabwa which should be completed by the end of the year. The entire community was out to welcome us and were helping with unskilled labour. A grant from the Guernsey Overseas Aid and Development Commission is funding this invaluable facility, which will include a clinic, two staff houses, biodigester, toilets and a borehole.
Mabwa Primary school received a donation of mosquito nets to protect children against malaria, and earlier this year a borehole. We also paid a visit to Kauwe Secondary School where we were told there is a high number of teenage pregnancies. Involving our peer educators and role models, who are former beneficiaries from our orphan sponsorship programme, pupils were given a talk on the dangers of HIV and AIDS, teenage pregnancies, and alcohol and drug abuse.
It was great to see a new 1×3 classroom block under construction at Musokotwane Secondary school. Three of our sponsored builders were on site, including Thabo who was awarded the best bricklayer while at college, in 2022. The Murphy Family Foundation is funding this project which will also include desks, computers, and electrification for the entire school. The same donors have also funded a 1×3 classroom block at River View Secondary school, shortly to be constructed.
After visiting Musokotwane Secondary school we proceeded to distribute textbooks to at the Primary school and also Sinde Primary School. This was followed by a meeting with women in Musokotwane to initiate a new vegetable-growing project. Just before the start of the meeting a storm appeared from nowhere and for over an hour, we had to take shelter in a church. Such was the noise from the howling wind and rain bouncing off the iron sheet roof that it was impossible to have a conversation!
On our return we passed by Muskotwane Primary school and was horrified to see the destruction caused by the storm. The roof of a 1×2 classroom block and the head teacher’s office, had completely blown off with the iron sheets landing over 100 metres from the site. A dormitory had also lost its roof. Miraculously, there was only one injury when a young boy was hit by a falling brick. Our aim is to raise funds to help rehabilitate the facility.
As always it was a pleasure to meet up with the orphans, most especially at River View Secondary school where the first ever prize giving ceremony took place. I was moved to tears when a young amputee, who is on our sponsorship programme, received three prizes. Another sponsored pupil was awarded the maths prize and one girl was appointed Deputy Head girl for 2024. I also met up with those that are on sponsorship at Mukuni, Kamwi, Ng’andu, Senkobo and Musokotwane schools.
Once again, Jonathan Sedo from Costa Rica, came to volunteer. He spent a month giving extensive training to former sponsored pupils who are now running the Mukuni Village Tours project. This also includes a visit to Victoria Falls, which has strong links to the Leya tribe in Mukuni Chiefdom. The aim is for the guides to take ownership and earn a sustainable income.
The new project to empower young people with physical and mental challenges and those living with HIV was initiated thanks to a generous grant from our Canadian partner, Give a Hand. Sixty young people from Mukuni, Ng’andu and Kamwi will form a cooperative, which will include chicken rearing, and vegetable and crop growing. A borehole has already been installed at Kamwi for the vegetable growing.
Thanks to two generous donors funding is in place to install eight more boreholes for schools, communities, and women’s vegetable growing projects. Sites have been selected and it is hoped that these can all be installed before the imminent onset of the rainy season.
I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our existing and new donors. This year is proving to be one of the most productive and successful since the founding of The Butterfly Tree in 2006. A special thanks to our amazing team of trustees and volunteers in Zambia, without them none of the above could have been achieved!
In the lead up to Christmas we will be raising funds for bags of ground maize to distribute amongst widows, the elderly, and orphans. A bag of maize costs £7 and can feed a family of four for three weeks. If you care to make a donations please use this link or request the charity bank details: https://www.thebutterflytree.org.uk/pages/get-involved/online-donations/