The build up to Christmas is truly under way – festive lights illuminating the high streets, TV and radio media advertising the latest computer games and supermarket crammed with treats. With so much turmoil happening around the globe, the raging wars, the natural disasters and the Ebola crisis, to mention but a few, it’s hard to get enthusiastic about Christmas. The unwanted gifts, the over indulgence, the unnecessary stress it all creates is it really worth it? There are so many good causes that need supporting and this is the perfect time for giving.
A recent quote from one of our orphan sponsors sums it up: ‘With all the excess involved in Christmas and even everyday spending on silly things, it is genuinely a delight to give money to people who really need it.’
This month The Butterfly Tree has received some amazing donations and grants. The money will be used to build a 1×2 classroom block and latrines for Ndele Primary School and a health post at Muchimbale. Mukuni Special Education class will get additional meterials and stationery to help the children with learning difficulties.
Children wih special needs really do struggle, there are no facilities in rural villages. In addition to the one at Mukuni The Butterfly Tree has added three further units at Riverview, Katapazi and Simango Schools. By attaching an extra classroom solely for this purpose the Ministry of Education has provided skilled teachers. Children with Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and interlectual impairment are now receiving a basic education.
As always orphans are at the forefront of our work. It is imperitave that they receive a sound education to help them to improve their situation in life. Your support has helped us to reach out to thousands of orphaned an vulnerable children in Zambia.
The Butterfly Tree has come a long way since 2006, gaining a sound reputation for transparency, attracting a global following, as well as continuing to be run by a team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers. After recently spending three weeks in Zambia there is so much to report, so many stories to tell and many people to thank.
The start of the trip was spent hosting a Commissioner from our major donor organisation, For three days we revisited schools that have been developed for orphans and vulnerable children. These included Kamwi, Ndele, Mukuni, Machenje, Matengu and Silelo schools, and ended with a visit to the newly opened clinic at Mahalulu. The Commissioner saw first-hand how far we have reached, the challenges we face and met our wonderful team of volunteers.
Further development is taking place at Nampuyani school, where a new borehole and latrines have been added and the classrooms have been restored. Previously the only source of water was collected from bacteria infected shallow wells. The three hour drive to Nampuyani was tough, driving across river beds and a little too close for comfort to bush fires! However the joy of seeing children pumping safe clean water, was both humbling and overwhelming, and well worth the effort.
Muchimbale School, also in the Nyawa Chiefdom, underwent extensive development in 2013. Now thanks to further funding a health post is to be added to reduce the distance that this community has to walk to seek medical attention. Moving on the Musokotwane Chiefdom Simango School, with some 750 pupils, has the addition of a Special Education unit. In all these schools there is a high percentage of orphans.
As always I was given a substantial amount of items to distribute, which included medical supplies, knitted items and football jerseys, complete with 15 footballs. In addition we received 130 t-shirts impregnated with mosquito nets from Portugal. These are to be given to a remote community where there is a high prevalence of malaria and also to our Zambia volunteers. We are continuing our campaign to help the fight against malaria and to prevent further new cases in these rural villages.
We are currently sponsoring over 350 individual orphans as well as helping thousandes more with their education. It was wonderful to see that some of the ones we started sponsoring in 2006 are about to sit their grade 12 exams, after which they will complete their high school education.
Thank you to everyone for all your support – without you, none of this could have happened!
Once again I am delighted to say that The Butterfly Tree had a very successful year. I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support we received from all over the world and amazed that people from several foreign countries chose to volunteer for our charity. We advanced several rural schools and initiated more feeding programmes as well as providing vital funds for malaria and HIV prevention. We are now reaching out to remote communities some 200 kilometres from our base at Mukuni Village, many of which receive virtually no other international aid.
The most essential of all our projects is to provide a source of water for schools. To see safe, clean water flowing from a hand pump, after a borehole has been installed, always makes me emotional, especially when the only source of water was from a bacteria-infested well or stream. Two new boreholes have been added with three more planned for this year. In addition we have constructed a number of latrines to improve the sanitation in schools.
Helping to improve the facilities in these remote schools has given the children hope of a better future. At the villages of Chuunga, Manyemumyemu and Muchambile additional classrooms and teachers’ houses have been added to their schools. River View and Katapazi saw the completion of two special education units, adding to the one at Mukuni and a further one scheduled for Simango. Most rural children with special needs have no access to education.
Our largest school at Mukuni Village, with over one thousand pupils, had an excellent year. The addition of two extra classrooms reduced the number of pupils per class and added extra teaching hours to the day. A sustainable school shop providing uniforms, stationery and tuck, started making profits after just four months. A further school shop is to be opened at Muchambile. Lack of text books has always been a huge issue; ten schools received a substantial amount of books, this contributed to the fact that Mukuni Basic School got the best grade seven and nine examination results in the Kazungula District.
The boarding shelters at Mukuni were extended and bunk beds and mattresses donated. This has enabled pupils from outreach villages to forego the long daily walks to school and has also allowed those who live in extremely remote areas to attend a high school.
As always our orphan sponsorship is at the forefront. Children who have lost one or both parents are being helped with their education. With over 710,000 orphans nationwide it is imperative for them to not only receive basic education but also to learn about the dangers of HIV and AIDS. Mutsa Marau returned to Zambia to train more peer educators on HIV prevention and education on sexual health. A number of orphans have now completed school, five of them are being sponsored at teachers’ training college and one at an agricultural college. Some of our orphans are now employed in security, customs and teaching.
The Butterfly Tree continues to provide funds for malaria prevention with the distribution of mosquito nets and educational workshops. This year Nyawe Chiefdom was the beneficiary. Sadly there has been a substantial increase in new cases of malaria throughout the Kazungula district due to lack of spraying and insufficient provision of nets. We are working with Biotech International, a UK corporate to bring two safe new products into Zambia for malaria prevention in the forthcoming months.
Whenever possible we provide funds for sick children to be treated in hospital. We have built a women’s shelter at Mambova Health Centre and continue to support both maternity care and under-fives clinics. The CEF goat project funded by two of our US volunteers continues to provide goat’s milk for vulnerable infants and children.
Six community houses have been built for widows and the elderly looking after orphans with funding in place for four more. Initiating community projects is an essential part of development and our aim is to establish these for school leavers who cannot afford to go to college. In July I was accompanied by an Ecotourism consultant from Costa Rica, in view of setting up a sustainable project in Mukuni Village. This is a prime area, just seven kilometers from the renowned Victoria Falls and the perfect location to create an income-generating an enterprise for the educated school leavers.
In October a great opportunity arose when we were invited by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to be listed as one of their charities. The forthcoming year has some exciting prospects in the making, most importantly the new malaria prevention projects and further development in rural schools.
To read the full report and see pictures of the projects and communities please follow this link: http://www.thebutterflytree.org.uk/pages/wp-content/images/Annual-Report-2013-20142.pdf
In Zambia a high percentage of children are orphans as a result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Since 2006 The Butterfly Tree has offered support to orphans and vulnerable children in twenty five schools in the Southern Province. Five of these schools were built from scratch, others have been expanded, some now have pre-schools and four schools have new special education units.
The hardships these rural children have to endure on a daily basis are numerous – lack of safe drinking water and shortage of food, hours of walking to school in the baking sun, the risk of contracting malaria and HIV, and no clinic within a thirty mile radius. How do they cope? They live for each day and hope for a better future. Education is the key to overcoming poverty and its related issues. By advancing these rural schools The Butterfly Tree has given hope to thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children.
In the past twelve months we have completed education projects in Mukuni, Musokotwane and Nyawe Chiefdoms. Simango, River View and Katapazi schools have each gained a special education unit. Muchimbale, Chuunga and soon to be completed Nampuyani, have all had extra classrooms, teacher’s house and latrines, and three more schools have boreholes.
Many parents of these rural children are illiterate. Education not only provides an opportunity to seek employment, it teaches children about the dangers of HIV and malaria prevention. A substantial number of orphans, who we started sponsoring back in 2006, are currently receiving further education or engaged in work. They now have a purpose in life and a chance to help their families and communities. The Butterfly Tree is committed to continuing this vital support, most especially for orphans.
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.
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