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
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