Not a drop of rain has fallen on the parched Zambian terrain since April. Streams are dry, rivers are low and shallow wells are empty.October is the time to start thinking about planting before the onset of the rainy season in November.
Food is in short supply, the stored maize is rapidly dimishing and children are hungry. Many children have to walk ten miles a day to get to school, leaving home at 4am to arrive for lessons at 7am, often on an empty stomach. The World Food Program is supposed to supply morning porridge for evey school, but this is intermittent and often a whole term is missed out.
Providing seeds for school and rural communities is a way in which groups and individuals can have their own garden to grow food and become sustainable. Donations from the Seeds for Life project have enabled this to happen in remote areas of Zambia. The Butterfly Tree has helped twelve schools, but many more need you support.
If a school has a maize field and a vegetable garden, and the yield is good, not only is there is sufficient food for the children to have a daily meal, anything surplus to their requirements can be sold to the community. The extra money is used to buy additional supplies and help with the running costs of the school. Some schools with the profits they made this year were able to hire transport so that the pupils could participate in the District's Sports Competition.
The poverty levels in these remote village communities are very high, there is a great deal of unemployment and a number of households are headed by women.
Please help us to provide further support to these vulnerable children, many of them orphaned due to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. A small donation could buy a packet of seeds or a bag of fertilizer and help to alleviate hunger.
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.
2014 has brought hope for thousnads of orphaned and vulnerable rural children in the Southern Province of Zambia. We are now reaching out to twenty six schools in four Chiefdoms, spanning a radius of 200 kilometres from our base at Mukuni Village. Over ten thousand children have access to advanced education and many more have access to improved water and health facilities.
The latest development is taking place at Muchimbale Community School, in the Nyawa Chiefdom, thanks to a generous donor. The school is very remote and has little support from the outside world. Last year The Butterfly Tree installed a bore hole and latrines, completed a teacher’s house and initiated a feeding programme. This year a further donation will enable us to restore an old classroom, purchase books and equipment and introduce a sustainable income-generating activity at the school.
Further progress can be seen at Katapazi Basic School with the opening of a special education unit, another one is currently being constructed at Simango Basic School in the Musokotwane Chiefdom, making four in total. Rural children in Zambia, with special needs, have no access to education. Chunga Community School classroom will shortly be completed and our aim is to also build a second classroom at Ndele Community School.
In addition some 400 individual orphans are receiving sponsorhip and three students are currently attedning training colleges in Livingstone. One of these studetns is attending agricultural college with the aim of being able to help our Seeds for Life project and the communities in general.
Thanks to a very generous donor we have been able to provide seeds for additional schools in remote village of Zambia. These schools are in the Mukuni and Nyawa Chiefdoms in the Kazungula District of Southern Province. Twelve schools in total have created s school garden to grow seeds, which will provide a sustainable feeding program for pupils who often having only one meal per day.
The crops include maize, which will be dried and stored to make a porridge, beans and vegetables. Beans provide a much needed source of protein. Having feeding programs has proved to improve both the performance and attendance of vulnerable children.
At Mukuni Basic School where there is a feeding program lastest school results have been excellent.Reports show that virtually all grade seven and nine pupils, many of which are on The Butterfly Tree orphan sponsorship programme, have passed their exams. Mukuni Basic School received the best result for the Kazungula District. Our supporters must take some of the credit for this due to the increase in text books donated to classes where previously one text book had to be shared between forty pupils. In addition a number of volunteers, gave extra tuition to grade seven and nine pupils prior to their exams. A generous offer from a US donor will provide the schools with further reading material.
Providing funds for this vital project is invaluable, hunger is prevalant amongst school children. A donation of seeds can make a huge difference!
Christmas is almost upon us and thanks to the tremendous support from our donors, fundraisers and volunteers around the globe many rural children in Zambia have a better future ahead of them.
December has been an incredibly good month for fundraising, most especially thanks to The Big Give Christmas Challenge, when we raised £15,000 (US$ 25,000) in pledges and donations, which will be be doubled through their Charity Champion Fund and The Reed Foundation. In addition we received donations from the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany, France, Ireland and Switzerland and of course the UK, showing how The Butterfly Tree has attracted donors from all over the world.
We now have funds in place for hundreds more mosquito nets for our malaria prevention program, a teacher’s house, classrooms, seeds for school gardens. stationery for schools and over twenty new orphans added to our orphan sponsorship programme. Providing the essentials in life is what these communities most need to enable them to have a healthier and happier life.
The Butterfly Tree team would like to thank everyone who has helped us reach out to thousands and orphaned children in the Southern Province of Zambia. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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