Dear Friends of The Butterfly Tree,
During my recent visit to Zambia the nation’s general elections took place. With a change of government it is believed that Michael Sata, the new President, will increase aid to deprived areas and stamp out corruption. Although I never involve the charity in political matters, measures to improve health and education sectors need to be addressed. In the past five years I have seen a reduction in funding for both rural schools and clinics, which have to rely more than ever on international aid for development. I came across a woman who had walked 37 kilometers, taking 13 hours, to reach Mukuni maternity clinic from Chuunga - she was nine months pregnant.
Thanks to substantial grant aid from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission we are in the final stages of completing three new rural schools. The villages of Silelo and Matengu in the Musokotwane Chiefdom had to rely on unskilled teachers operating in mud hut structers. It was amazing to see the transformation, each school has three classrooms, two teachers’ houses and latrines. The community participation had been impressive and once approved these schools expect to open in January 2012. A third school at Malima, in the Mukuni Chiefom, has been given the same funding with the addition of a bore hole.
The highlight of my entire trip was to see the Kamwi twins, who lost their mother and sister during childbirth. Vincent and Elvis celebrated their first birthday this month. Last October, when I first set eyes on them, I feared they would not survive; they each weighed just over one kilo. At barely two weeks old they were sent to a remote village, after being discharged from hospital because they could offer them only water. I could not refuse to support to these helpless infants. For twelve months the charity has provided formula, clothing and blankets and all their requirements, while their grandmother has lovingly nurtured them. They have been tested free of HIV and both are happy and healthy and are testament to the vital role we play in these vulnerable communities.
October sees the start of the rains and many mud huts cannot stand up to the deluge. This is particularly hard for old people supporting orphans. In the past few months we have build an additional nine homes. Two of them have been donated by one of the volunteers, James Ashley, who helped construct the houses. Five of them were funded by ENRC marketing who have also funded a teacher’s house, HIV and AIDS prevention projects and the under five’s feeding program, which has also received support from Brady Italia. One home was donated by LSR Rotary Club, one by Aurora and the other through the Cyclothon Challenge.
I had the pleasure of working with a number of volunteers, Casey Short and Margaret Bax, from Oregon, returned for a third year to continue the goat’s milk project. Mutsa Marau, a young lady from London, is spending four months at Mukuni teaching peer education in HIV and AIDS prevention. Petteri Alppi a former UCL student from Finland has documented the work of The Butterfly Tree in addition to writing a much needed Maths and English Revision guide. Claire Richardson and Hannah Lainton spent time teaching business skills to women’s groups. I have been so impressed with their hard work and dedication and thank them for helping us to make a difference.
We have just received our figures for 2010-‐2011 and I am delighted to say that we have raised an amazing £270,000 (US$445,000); this is our best year to date. All the money has gone directly into our grassroots projects in Zambia. Our annual report and accounts will shortly be circulated.Despite a quiet start to the new financial year our funds have had a great boost from both individuals and corporate who have visited Mukuni Village in the past few months. Having gone to the village as part of a cultural tour, many took the opportunity to visit The Butterfly Tree projects. Donations of blankets, sports balls, stationery and clothing have helped a number of vulnerable people. Two companies, Brady Italy and Canon Australia have generously offered ongoing support. Others came in individual donations and orphan sponsorship from the UK, US, Europe and Australia.
The three schools we are currently building, two in the Musokatwane Chiefdom and one in Mukuni, are well under way and should all be completed by the end of this year ready to open in January 2012. This has been made possible thanks to grant aid from Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. We are now reaching out to fifteen schools in the Kazungula District in addition to three clinics and a number of rural villages.
Many existing donors have generously continued their support to sponsor orphans. The first of the sponsored orphans have now completed grade twelve and our aim is to source the funds so they can go onto further education. The Mukuni Village Fund in South Australia is now sponsoring fifty orphans through The Butterfly Tree program. However many more sponsors are needed. Due to the global recession and lack of employment in these outreach villages far too many children, even those with parents, have failed to pay their school fees. We have increased our support to keep them in school. This summer we have seven volunteers who are working at the Mukuni schools to tackle the HIV/AIDS problems and improve the education standards and also some of them will be working with women's groups.
This month I was invited to Zurich to receive a substantial donation from ENRC Marketing AG. Unknown to us their employees had held a fundraising campaign and the beneficiary was to be an NGO working in one of the many countries where their company operates. After sifting through hundreds of charitable organisations, amazingly The Butterfly Tree was selected for having the best record of proven transparency and for the fact that we are all volunteers both in the UK and Zambia. The male employees had to grow mustaches and beards, all the staff gave generously with matched funding provided by ENRC's head office in London. This was an amazing achievement especially as it took only one month from concept to reaching their target. The funds raised totalled US $27,000 and will be used to build a teachers house at Mukuni Village, five community houses for orphans in the Chiefdom and to support our HIV/AIDS programmes for children, which include peer education, workshops and feeding programs.
Saga, whos charitable trust is one of our major donors, are challenging their employees to raise funds to build a bore hole and a shelter for boarders at Mukuni who have to long distances to walk to school. This means that they can remain close to the school during the week and return home at the weekend.
Next month, after winning a team place, we are to participate in Cyclothon UK, a cycle challenge initiated by Victor Umbugu of VU Ltd and former England rugby prop. The event is to be held at Brands Hatch on 15th September. Our team, The Flying Butts, need your support. Donations would be greatly appreciated and can be sent to The Butterfly Tree, 3 Gannaway Court, Norton Lindsey, Warwick CV35 8JR or made using our Just Giving webpage: http://www.justgiving.com/clythothonuk. If you are in the area any time during the day or from 4pm onwards when the excitement reaches a peak, please go and support the team and see many of the International Rugby players taking part. We are grateful to CRB Solutions, Academy Leasing and Geddes and Associates who are our three of our main sponsors.
Thank you to all the individuals, corporate, schools, clubs, volunteers and philanthropies who have given so generously to our grassroots projects, which have improved the lives of thousands of children and vulnerable communities in Zambia.
Peter Liyungu was the first orphan to be accepted on The Butterfly Tree orphan sponsorship program, some five years ago, when we first started operating in Mukuni Village back in 2006. At the time Peter had lost both parents and despite being very intelligent, had lost interest in his education and no access to funds to continue his education. A sponsor was sought and this transformed his life; as there was no high school at Mukuni Peter wanted to go to boarding school and subsequently attended Zimba High. We are also sponsoring his younger brother Mishek.
I am delighted to say that after four years Peter has completed grade twelve and did exceedingly well in his exams. In his own words Peter wished to thank his sponsors.
"It is my pleasure to show my gratitude and say thank you for opening up my life to a dream come true. You are my father and my mother who would have done the same if they were alive. It takes a strong soul to take up the work of someone else.
I must let you know that I have made it through my senior secondary with 16 points which gives me the opportunity to apply for university. It is because of you that I have achieved this, your contribution to my education and my life in all was not in vain and once more thank you for making my dream come true."
To date The Butterfly Tree has sponsored over 400 individual orphans in addition to providing nutritional feeding programs, classrooms, teachers’ houses and bore holes holes. Our healthcare projects including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, boosted by a recent donation from Viking River Cruises, are all for the benefit of these vulnerable children. One of the great things about working in these rural communities is that when we can assist with the orphans’ education, there is always someone who will offer to be a guardian, whether it be a family member, a friend or even a teacher. This is by far more preferable than having to leave their village and be placed in an orphanage in town.
There are over 700,000 orphans in Zambia alone and they desperately need your support. Education is the only way they can get out of the cycle of poverty to enable them to better their situation. For as little as $180 USD or £110 per annum or just $15 or £10 per month a child’s life can be transformed. The money is used to pay for school and exam fees, books, shoes, uniform and school bag. In addition to this the children receive a daily nutritional meal, such as the one at Mukuni, sponsored by Cunninghams. The Butterfly Tree provides educational workshops, using interactive DVD’s donated by TME, teaching the pupils about the dangers of HIV/AIDS, malaria, teenage pregnancy, drugs and alcohol.
If you would like to sponsor and orphan like Peter or Mishek and make another child’s dream come true, please click on the DONATE button or contact email@example.com.
Listen to the orphans singing with the Mukuni Basic Choir on Youtube
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The new year has gotten off to a great start with many more donors offering to sponsor an orphan, fundraisers organizing events as well as volunteers planning their trips to Mukuni. There are so many ways that you can get involved without having to break the bank. What has helped us considerably are the number of donors who have offered on going support, which has enabled The Butterfly Tree to continue feeding programs in schools, malaria prevention and HIV/AIDS prevention in clinics and sponsorship for initiatives such as the Mukuni pre-school.
Over the next few months we will start work on three new schools in very remote areas - one in the village of Malima in the Mukuni Chiefdom and the other two in Matengu and Silelo in the Musokotwane Chiefdon, a new area of expansion for the charity. Each community has impressively attempted to create an educational environment for their children using mud hut structures and untrained teachers.To assist them The Butterfly Tree is to build three classrooms, six teachers’ houses, twelve pit-latrines with the addition of a bore hole at Malima. These community schools will then become basic schools with trained teachers provided by the government. Education is the key and without it these vulnerable people will not move forward. Once the rainy season is over in March our work will commence and we look forward to what we hope will be another beneficial year for education in Zambia.
We are delighted that so many people are giving up their time to provide vital funds for our work in Zambia and are grateful to everyone for donating time and funds to help us. Without this support we could not have achieved so much. Thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children are now receiving an education, have access to safe clean drinking water and improved health facilities.
Education is the key and the only way to overcome poverty, hunger and disease. Thanks to a substantial grant from Jersey Overseas Aid Commission we have been able to advance the education in five schools in the Kazungula District of Zambia. All of these schools are in remote areas and receive very little assistant from the outside world. With the addition of a 1×2 classroom, teacher’s house and latrines Kamwi Basic School has been able to add extra grades, which means that children no longer have to walk several miles to Mukuni. Simasimbi Basic School has been given the same development as Kamwi; the school becomes inaccessible during the rainy season making it even more beneficial to have improved facilities.
The children of Mandandi used a simple mud hut as a school, where they were taught by untrained teachers. The addition of a brand new school has been welcomed by the community, trained teachers will be provided by the government for the opening in the new year. A new pre-school classroom has been built for the children of Machenje Village, with the aim of being supported by the community through income-generating activities. The flagship of the all our constructions is the new 1×3 classroom block, complete with an office and storerooms at Mukuni Basic School. The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission funding also included a much needed staff house for the clinic at N’songwe Village. This is the third clinic we are supporting.
I had to deal with one of the most heartbreaking stories I have encountered in almost five years of working in Zambia. Elvis and Vincent were born two months’ premature after their mother went into labour at seven months and died in childbirth with a third baby. The Butterfly Tree has offered to support these helpless infants who need four tins of formula a week. Dealing with this case reconfirmed just how vulnerable these people are and how desperately they need our help. Advancing the health and education facilities will hopefully reduce the number of these distressing cases. The support we have received this year has been overwhelming, as you can see your donations have been used to make a difference to the lives of many people, please continue this vital support.
Help us to help more of these vulnerable children and sponsor a child today.
Thank you for your continued support.
The Butterfly Tree
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