Project #10448

Seeds for Life in Zambia

by The Butterfly Tree
New kitchen shelter for the daily feeding program
New kitchen shelter for the daily feeding program

What a pleasure to come to Zambia at then end of the rainy season and see an abundance of crops for schools and communities. After two years of drought the rains this year have been continuous and plentiful, making the whole area lush and green, a far cry from the parched earth which I last saw in October.

The children are currently eating fresh roasted corn and wild fruits from the bushes. Much of the corn will be left to dry and stored for the months ahead. Pumpkins, okra and kale are just some of the vegetables being grown for school feeding programs. These programs are vital for children who have to walk considerbale distances to school and for orphans and vulnerable children who may have only one meal per day.

One of the school supported by The Butterfly Tree is River View, in Sekute Chiefdom. This area is close to the river and previously the children used to draw water from crocodile infested waters. Last year the charity donated a well which has helped considerably. Water can be pumped on the school premises for both pupils and teachers.

To further improve the facilities at River View School we recently constructed a Kitchen Shelter to improve their feeing program, there are 1,150 pupils attending this school .  It was a joy to see childrenl lining up to receive a daliy meal.

Your donations have helped to provide seeds and fetilzer for twenty schools and our aim this year is to raise funds for more wells so that additional schools can have sustainable feeding programs. There has been much hunger during the past two years, but it is hoped that there will be bumper crops this year which will alleviate this major issue. Many thanks to all those donros who support our 'Seeds for Life' program.


Kazungula Boarding School Garden
Kazungula Boarding School Garden

Thank you to all the donors who have supporded our Seeds for Life project in Zambia. I am delighted to say that we have been able to expand our support to more rural schools who get very little help from the outside world. 

The past two years the areas where we work haxe experienced drought, hunger has been common place, especially amongst school children who have to walk long distances to school. The importance of school meals in these outreach communities cannot be underestimated. As long as the school has a source of water maize and other vegetables can be grown to support a feeding program. When we develop or expand a school the first facility we look at is that of water. 

If there is a nearby stream then treddle pumps can be used to pump water to irrigate the gardens. Unfortunately this same water is oftern the only main source of drinking water, hence the high number of cases of diarrhoeal cases in children. This year we have donated four bore holes, also known as wells, to River View, Nguba and Mayala rural schools and Kazungula Boarding School. As a result a further 2,600 children now have access to safe drinking water.

The new school year in Zambia starts in January, which is also the rainy season and a good time to plant seeds for the feeding program. Though each rural school is supposed to be provided with supplies from the World Food Program, this can be inconsistent. At times the schools receive only enough ground maize for one or two terms, leaving a shortfall for the remaining terms. 

By helping the schools to create their own garden they can meet the shortfall and help more vulnerable children. It also creates sustainibility as any surplus food can be sold within the community.

With Christmas now behind us, and the realisation that we have been fortunate enough to celebrate it with traditonal meals such as turkey and all its trimmings, with your donations we can now help those less fortunate than we are.


Leseli waiting for his lunch
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. 

Some of the 1,100 pupils at River View School
Some of the 1,100 pupils at River View School


In the past few weeks The Butterfly Tree has received substantial funding to add four new bore holes (wells). Three of these are for schools, one has already been completed with three more to follow. With 4.8 million people in Zambia lacking safe drinking water every addition helps, especially in rural areas.

River View School in the Sekute Chiefdom near the town of Kazungula, now has access to water, not only for drinking, but also to provide irrigation for their school garden. Up until last week pupils had to draw water from the Zambezi River, which is teeming with crocodiles. Earlier this year a young school boy, from this school, almost lost his life while collecting water with a bucket. Luckily a friend alerted him before the crocodile had chance to attack.

For the past two years the Southern part of Zambia has suffered from drought, resulting in crop failures and much hunger. This is the dry season, there has been no rain since April. The schools are now closed for a month's break. However in early September when the schools resume for the new term it will be time to start preparing the school gardens in readiness for planting.

Providing seeds and fertiliser helps the schools to have sustainable feeding programs.This is vital for children who walk long distances, those who are orphaned and ones that come from vulnerable families. Two months ago the Head Teacher, Rev Mulenga, at River View met two families with a total of six children who were unable to go to school due to lack of funds. The only food they received was leftovers from a nearby cafe.

We are pleased to say that all six children have been enrolled in school after we offered support. They will all be able to benefit from the school feeding program.

Thank you to everyone for supporting our project and to Global Giving for awarding The Butterfly Tree 'Super Star' status!


Maize growing in Kamwi Village
Maize growing in Kamwi Village

While people in many countries are tackling obseity, other countries are suffering from hunger. The Seeds for Life project provides schools with an opportunity to create sustainable feeding programs. The project is helping children in a number of rural areas of Zambia to have a nutritional meal, while attending school.

Due to the recent drought The Butterfly Tree is sourcing alternative crops to that of maize, which is rain dependent. Sorghum is being introduced as an alternative. It provides a rich source of energy, is drought tolerant and environmentally friendly. In addition beans are grown to provide a rich source of protein.

Whereas we in the west throw away some vegetable leaves and stalks, in rural areas of Zambia, every part of the vegetable is eaten. For example pumpkin leaves, which we never see when buying a pumpkin, are high in clacium and also  a good source of vitamins, as well as iron.

Local people have depended on these types of food supplies for decades, but sadly poverty and the added burden of drought, leaves families unable to suffice the appetites of growing children. This is where your donation has really helped. By donating just a small amount to our Seeds for Life project, school pupils can benefit from a meal, which helps to improve their concentration and performance.

Due to the lack of rain some school had failed crops, but the ones that left the planting until later in the season have produced healthy crops. The school bore holes provides a regular source of irrigation, unless there is a nearby stream.

As always working in Zambia is challenging, but seeing children eating heartily is both a humbling and rewarding experience. We have bought extra bags of maize for families, such as Wingrey Mulonzya's family, who had no food when I last visited Zambia. They were living off local fruits. Wingrey has lost both his parents. His older brother, who is married and has two young children, has to provide for everyone. To further help this family we are now sponsoring Wingrey's education. 

We aim to provide additional schools with seeds in time for the the next planting. 


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Organization Information

The Butterfly Tree

Location: Warwick, Warwickshire - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​​pages/​
Project Leader:
Jane Kaye-Bailey
Warwick, Warwcikshire United Kingdom

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