The Butterfly Tree

The Butterfly Tree's aim is to improve the lives of vulnerable people living in remote villages in Zambia. To advance the education and improve the facilities in rural schools, giving every child a chance to be educated. To protect the health of patients by developing the rural clinics offering support sevices, medical supplies and equipment. To relieve poverty and improve the living conditions of socially disadvantaged communities teaching them how to become sustainable.
Jun 17, 2014

Water in Zambia

Young pupil from Kamwi School
Young pupil from Kamwi School

No project is more essential than that to improve access to safe water in remote schools and communities. It is heart-breaking to see children drinking from bacteria-infested streams and rivers, especially when the rivers are teaming with crocodiles.

A third of Zambians do not have access to safe water, thousands of people walk several miles daily to fetch water, much of it unclean. Contaminated water is a leading cause of diarrhoeal disease in Zambia, Schistosomiasis, (also known as Balharzia) and Rotavirus are common and can be fatal in infants.

Annually, there are an estimated 10.5 million cases of diarrhoea, 63,000 hospitalisations and 15,000 deaths attributed to the disease in children under-five in Zambia. The Butterfly Tree’s aim is to source communities in Zambia desperately in need of bore holes and find schools with insufficient sanitation.

Recently I visited Nampuyani School, in the Nyawe Chiefdom, where children were drinking unsafe water from shallow wells. During the rainy season, November to April, the pupils dug these wells to collect water for storage during the dry season. By May one of the two wells was already dry. These wells are being used by animals at night, further polluting the water.

Lack of sanitation is another huge issue, more than fifty per cent of Zambians do not have sanitation facilities. Schools can be closed down by the government if there are insufficient latrines, diarrhoeal diseases are common amongst pupils.

The Butterfly Tree has added eleven bore holes to schools throughout the Chiefdoms of Mukuni, Sikute, Musokotwane and Nyawe in the Southern Province of Zambia. Adding a bore hole not only gives the pupils access to safe drinking water, but also helps them to have a sustainable feeding programs. Most of the children at these schools are orphaned and vulnerable so feeding programs are essential.

In addition the charity has constructed over forty latrines in schools, which has considerably helped to reduce the diarrhoeal diseases, resulting in less absenteeism. The children are taught basic hygiene.

Next month three volunteers from Enactus, a student-run company based at the University of Sheffield will volunteer for The Butterfly Tee. Their intention is to improve the water facility at Ng’andu Basic School and help to initiate a soap-making project as part of our Ecotourism plan, to create a sustainable enterprise for school leavers. An American family will also volunteer in July and have kindly raised funds for a bore hole.

We are grateful for all the support we have received from our donors, which has enbabled us to provide safe drinking water for so many schools and expand our water projects in Zambia.

Links:

Jun 2, 2014

Progress & Malaria Prevention for Orphans

New home for widow & orphans under construction
New home for widow & orphans under construction

The Butterfly Tree has been given a licence to import two safe new malaria prevention products which could potentially save the lives of thousands of children in Zambia. The products Mozzimort and Larvamort, produced by Biotech International can not only help to prevent malaria, but also river blindness Onchocerciasis, also known as Robles disease, which is caused by a black fly. One in ten people suffer from this condition in the Northern and Western Provinces of Zambia and up until now there have been no preventative methods available.

This project dominated my three weeks in Zambia. With the assistance of Stain Musungaila, a local volunteer for The Butterfly Tree and his invaluable contacts, we presented the data to the Ministry of Health’s Enviormental Agency, the Food and Drugs Department and the Malaria Control Board. The products have been approved and we are being granted licencing for the importation, storage, transport and distribution, which will last for three years.

Sadly there has been a huge increase in the number of new cases of malaria in the region. Mukuni Chiefdom alone has reported over 200 new cases, in the past three years the number has been less than five. This has been caused by a number of factors – lack of insecticidal spraying, insufficient mosquito nets and prolonged heavy rains. Other clincis in the Kazungula District have reported a simular picture, which has created a great deal of concern. Our aim is to get these new products rolling before the onset of rains in November.

With all the excitement created with the malaria prevention project I still had time to visit many other of our projects, most importantly that of water and sanitiation. Accompnied by James Baldwin and Peter Marsh, two civil engineers, we addressed the situation. To date we have installed some fifteen bore holes in rural schools and villages, but there are many more areas of need, one of those being Nampuyani where school children are drinking our of shallow wells shared by domestic animals. This causes diarrhoal disease, therefore we intend to add a bore hole and VIP latrines for the school.

 During my stay I had the pleasure of meeting the Larsgard family from Norway, who have been supporting our orphan sponsorship program for the past five years. They came to Mukuni Village and were introduced to seven of the ten orphans they are sponsoring. As always the sponsor an orphan program plays a vital roll in our work to create sustainable futures for the communities. Some three hundred individual children are currently being sponsored and five students are partaking in further education. We are introducing a workshop to teach skills for those for are unable to seek employment.

On the 7th and 8th May William Anderson and twelve of his former school friends, celebrating their 50th birthday year, spent two days volunteering for The Butterfly Tree. They had raised funds to built four community houses for widows looking after orphans. In addition they played sport with the children and donated educational supplies and clothing and mentored grade 12 pupils and schools leavers.

As always it was both a rewarding and humbling experience visiting the many schools and villages we support. Once the new malaria prevention project takes off we aim to reach out to thousands more communites to prevent the dehabilitating malaria and Roble diseases.

Links:

Jun 2, 2014

Sustainable Feeding Programs for Schools

Dried maize and gourds
Dried maize and gourds

November to April is the rainy season in Zambia and this is the time when communities grow maize to be harvested in April. The maize is left to dry on the stems, collected, then stored for the winter months. Hunger amongst school children is always an issue in remote villages, where children have to walk up to ten miles each way to get to school. Often they have only one meal per day.

The Butterfly Tree has initiated feeding programs in eleven rural schools by providing them with seeds and fertilizer before the rainy season. This enables each school to provide food for children, as the World Food Program contributions are intermittent and far two often the schools receive it only during one term.

This year the yield was not as good as expected, but enough to provide maize for vulnerable and orphaned children. Vegetables can be grown during the dry season so long as there is a nearby source of water. The Butterfly Tree has ensured that all the schools have a well for safe drinking water and to use for irrigation.

The schools are situated in the Chiefdoms of Mukuni, Muskotwane, Sikute and Nyawa in the Kazungula District. During a recent visit I inspected the yield at some of the schools and it was a pleasure to see children receiving some food. Local women cook the maize and make it into n'shima, akin to mashed potato, and serve with beans and vegetables.

Any surplus maize will be sold to the communities and profits will be used to purchase seeds and fertilizer for the forthcoming year.

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