Life for many girls and women in Zambia is tough, most especially in rural villages where the poverty levels are extreme. More challenging is the high prevalence of HIV, with one in six adults being infected with the virus. Tradtionally women have children during their teens but early pregnancies can result in complications. The Butterfly Tree holds workshops for school girls and women to teach them about the dangers of HIV and teenage pregnancies.
'Educate a woman and she will educate the entire family'.
One of the main problems is the lack of funds for girls to be educated. If women can be empowered they are more likely to obtain employment. If the family is living below the poverty line it is difficult to feed them, especially if the woman aislooking after orphans. It is quite common to see a widow or elderly grandmother looking after six orphans. By donating seeds girls and women can grow sufficient food for the family and use the profits to pay for schooling and vocational courses.
The area where we work is close to the Victoria Falls and has a wealth of tourist attractions besides many hotels and lodges. These women, especially if they have manaed to completed a ffod and beverage course, can take their projects a step further and supply the hotel industry with local vegetables, which are constantly in demand. All that is needed is a donation for seeds and fertilizer - the women and girls will do the rest!
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