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.
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