Bunsanga is a remote village in the Nyawa Chiefdom of Zambia. Up until now they have never received any support from charities. The Butterfly Tree recently donated a bore hole and Indian Hand Pump to Bunsanga School, which will enable them to have a sustainable feeding program. In October they will be able to plant a vegetable garden before the onset of the rainy season. It was humbling to hear that this was the first time the children and community members had ever tasted fresh clean water.
Water is essential for all forms of life. It is four months since a drop of rain fell in Zambia, for many vulnerable families at this time of year there is a shortage of food. Children walk to school on empty stomachs relying on the school to provide a morning porridge. This is funded by the World Food Program, but sadly there is never enough for every school, some only receive the donation for one term out of three, others do not receive anything.
The Seeds for Life in Zambia project helps schools to become sustainable so that they do not have to rely on the World Food Program. Local women cook the food grown by the pupils, which is especially beneficial for those having to walk long distances to get to school. During the dry season if the school has a bore hole it provides a continual supply of fresh water, not only for drinking, but also for irrigating a school garden.
Having a feeding program helps to improve the children's performance and attendance. Zambians' staple diet is maize, but we are looking at alternative crops as maize is rain dependent. One school at Singwamba has started growing breadfruit and once the project progresses they will donate seeds to other schools. This is an excellent form of sustainability as it makes them less dependent on internatonal aid. Breadfruit is highly nutritious and the trees do not need a great deal of water.
We must reach out to more remote schools and give them the same chance as schools such as Bunsanga, which is the fitteenth school to receive a bore hole through Thr Butterfly Tree.
In our last newsletter we reported that many of the crops in the areas of our work in Zambia had failed due to lack of rain. This is devastating for rural communities and schools who rely on dred maize, which is their staple diet, to sustain them through the long dry months between May and November.
We are delighted to report that thanks to a number of donations we have been able to provide extra seeds for twelve schools in the Kazungula District. In some areas the streams are dry, but thanks to our water projects all these schools have a well so that they can irrigate the garden. Though it is too late to plant maize, as it is rain dependent, they can grow beans and nutritious vegetables such as cabbage and kale.
Feeding programs are vital for these your children who have to walk long distances to get to school. They cannot afford to take packed lunches and there are no tuck shops in these remote villages. Providing seeds gives these vulnerable children nourishment to help them through the day. It also helps to improve concentration and performance as well as creating sustainability for the schools.
Since 2006 we have initiated feeding programs in over twnety rural schools and helped to alleviate hunger for thousands of children in Zambia. In two of the schools at Mukuni and Muchambile we have created sustainable shops to give them an income generating enterprise. A third school shop for Kamwi is being built next month, it is hoped that we can develop many more of these in rural schools.
March sees the start of The Butterfly Tree’s tenth year working to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. Despite having considerable success we now have to address two fundamental projects, Water and Food, to avoid a major crisis currently threatening the lives and livelihoods of numerous people living in the areas of our work.
The rainy season in Zambia starts in November and ends in April. Some parts of Zambia have recorded good rains, sadly this is not the case in the Southern Province, where very little rain has fallen. Now the peak growing season is coming to an end and for many villages and schools there is no maize. Crops have failed to grow, resulting in a shortage of food, hunger is already apparent which will get worse over the coming months.
Water, so essential for all forms of life, is in short supply. Rivers and streams, normally flowing at this time of year, are dry. Many remote communities still have no access to safe water and have to rely on streams. We need to identify these areas and raise funds to provide additional bore holes. Fortunately all the schools we work in now have bore holes to provide safe drinking water.
If the crisis continues it is hoped that the Zambian government will send maize from the north of Zambia to the affected southern region. In the meantime The Butterfly Tree will provide further seeds and fertilizer for school feeding programms, to enable them to grow beans, rape and cabbages using bore whole water for irrigation.
All of our work has had a big impact in these rural villages, but none more so than water projects. We need to provide more bore hole to improve health issues, reduce the number of diarrhoeal cases and to deliver a supply of water to irrigate for school gardens.
Donations for seeds and fertilizewr are urgnetly needed.
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I have just returned from Zambia after visiting many of the schools we support. It was the middle of the rainy season and it was wonderful to see healthy maize growing in the fields. The poor rural communities are dependent on rain water for the maize crops as they do not have irrigation systems. In some areas were the early rains were infrequent the crops are growing slowly, whereas in other areas the growth is stronger.
With your recent donations we have been able to add three more schools to the twelve we had already given seeds to. Kauwe, Muchimbale and Namuyani Schools in the Nyawe Chiefdom will received seeds to grow vegetables to suppliment the school's feeding program. It is too late to grown maize but at least they can grown tomatoes, cabbage, beans and pumpkins.
Due to the high poverty levels in these remote villages, families cannot send their children to school with packed lunches. Threfore it is imperative for schools to provide one meal a day. The World Food Program provisons are inconsistent and are often sent for only one term per year.
Maize is the staple diet for Zambians and provides a source of energy if not highly nutritioua. Ground nuts (peanuts) are a good source of protein and leafy green vegetables provide the neccessary vitiamins. Seasonal fruits can be found on the local trees and bushes, the mango being the most nutritious. Due to the long dry season there is only one crop of mangos.
Our aim is to set up a local enterprise for school leavers to use dried mangos, and to make tea with the view of supplying the hotels and lodges in the Victoria Falls region.
Please keep donating so that we can reach out to more schools and communities.
The new school year in Zambia starts in January. Next week pupils will walk to school, a distance of ten miles each way for some children living in rural areas. For most families is it not possible to provide a packed lunch for their children, and in especially poor communities the chldren will not receive breakfast. Therefore it is imperiative to have feeding programs in schools.
For many years The Butterfly Tree provides vital seeds and fertilizer for outreach schools, which has proved to be a great success. Maize, beans and vegetables are grown during the rainy season (November - April). Fresh maize is eaten during this period and at the end of the season it is dried and stored for the 'dry' months from May to October.
Our evaluation has shown a great improvement in both attendence and performance at the schools we support.The gardens are attended by teachers and pupils, water from the wells we have provided helps to irrigate the vegetables when the rains are insufficient, but the maize needs plenty of rain throughout the season. Too little rain can produce poor crops.
Funds have provided seeds and fertilizer for the following schools: N’gandu Basic School, Kamwi Basic School, Siamasimbi Basic School, Katapazi Basic School, Libala Basic School, Mahalululu Basic School, Mulindi Basic School, Manyemuyemu Basic School, N’dele Primary School, Malima Community School, Chuunga Community School, Mubiana Community School.
This year with your help we aim to add a further twelve rural schools to the program to alleviate hunger amongst school children. Just $10 could make the difference to a child's life.
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