Leseli waiting for his lunch
School feeding programmes are essential in providing a sustainable meal for orphans and vulnerable children.
Two months ago The Butterfly Tree leanrt of the Siatali family living in a rural area near the town of Kazungula. A family of six, the four children had never been to school. The father had no employment and could not afford to send his children to school.
This week, after I arrived in Zambia one of my first visits was to the home of this family. The charity had recently agreed to support the older child, a girl aged 16 in education, and provide uniforms for the two boys aged 12 and 13.
Their home consists of two old mud dwellings, one for the parents and youngest child, a girl aged 8 and the other for the three older children. The mother was preparing lunch for the family in a small cooking pot half full of rape, a green nutritious vegetable. There was no ground maize nor beans, the staple food for most Zambians.
The Head Teacher, who accompanied me, explained that the only food they had was a few vegetables, which they grew. Other than that, each evening that the father would walk some distance to the local restaurants and gather left-over food off plastic plates that had been thrown away. The entire scene was pitiful and totally inadequate to support a growing family.
Every year, with the help of your donations, The Butterfly Tree provides seeds and fertilizer to schools with the aim of providing sustainable feeding programs, essential for vulnerable children like the Sitali family.
The three older children now attend River View Junior Secondary School and have settled in well. Every day they walk three miles, each way, to seek their education and the knowledge that they will get at least enjoy one meal a day.
This week I offered the younger child the opportunity to go to the local community school, starting on Monday. To further support the family we are going to give them seeds and fertilizer in time for the forthcoming rains and growing season. This was they can grow maize, dry it for the winter months and seel any surplus to create an income as well as food for themselves.
By the time I left this family I felt so humble, and yet the look of joy and hope in their eyes confirmed how important it is to help those less fortunate than we are.