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Project Luangwa

South Luangwa in Zambia is a magical destination for a safari holiday and its beauty and wildlife leave a lasting impression long after you’ve returned home. But it can be harsh and unforgiving too, especially for the local people. Most are subsistence farmers who live side by side with Luangwa’s wildlife but whilst wild animals the attract visitors they also raid crops; an entire year’s supply of maize can disappear overnight with the visit of a few elephants.

Project Luangwa is a charitable organisation which aims to help the local community in South Luangwa benefit from visitors and improve their economic prospects.  We believe that the future of the area lies in the hands of the younger members of the community and that these kids should have access to a good education.  But all too often we find a sad scenario – too few classrooms coupled with an inadequate number of teachers means that it is not unusual to see up to 100 kids in a class and many will be sitting on the floor due to a lack of desks and chairs.  Teachers struggle with few resources and often there is just one textbook for the whole class. But these are the lucky ones; primary schooling is free but at secondary level it is not and many parents cannot afford school fees, uniform or even exercise books.

Girls have an even harder time. Early marriages are not unusual, families often favour a boy when it comes to education, abuse is all too common, a girl’s workload is higher than her brother’s, and once she reaches puberty, she may attend school for just 3 weeks out of every four.

Project Luangwa looks for long term sustainable solutions that give a hand-up rather than a hand-out. We raise funds to build more classrooms, buy text books, build and put books into libraries. We run girls’ clubs to encourage more girls to go to school, to support each other and find solutions to their difficulties. One example of this is helping them make reusable, washable sanitary pads.

Due to HIV/Aids and other diseases many children have lost parents – at one small community school 210 of the 318 pupils are double orphans.  We arrange pupil sponsorship on a one to one basis enabling many kids to receive an education which they would not get without support.

The charity was formed in 2009 and is supported by five of the safari operators in the Luangwa Valley as part of their commitment to helping the local communities. At these lodges a small percentage of guest’s payment is passed on to us. This covers much of our administration costs and so we are very proud to say that 100% of donations directly support the community, education and children.

There’s a huge amount of information on our website with pages for sponsorship, volunteers, what to bring, suitable books to bring and even bras.

Website: www.projectluangwa.org
Call at the office: Chinzombo (ZAWA offices), Mfuwe
Post: PO Box 27, Mfuwe
Email: Directors – karen@projectluangwa.org, / dave@projectluangwa.org
Telephone: 00260 (0) 216 246 265 / 00260 (0) 974250152 /3

Making a difference further a field

TUJATANE “Let us all hold hands together” – Tongabezi Trust School 

After Mike’s recent circuit trip to Zambia he spent time with a charity initiated by one of our Zambian clients, Tongabezi. We wanted to make a difference and have sent a donation for the school to purchase some much needed educational games and supplies. Here is the story of how the Tongabezi Trust School, Tujatane all began and the impact the school has made to the lives of the local people, and now ours.

TUJATANE, Tongabezi Trust School is a primary school, set up by Vanessa Parker who first came to Livingstone, Zambia as a volunteer teacher. Vanessa is married to Ben Parker who established Tongabezi Safari Lodge in 1990.

The aims of the school are to give as many local underprivileged children an education by offering small class sizes, quality teachers, and a variety of extracurricular activities such as computers, sports, music, drama, traditional dance (they are National champions!), conservation, chess and art, plus an HIV/Aids club and a girl empowerment programme.  All children are encouraged to pursue their loves and talents. The children love welcoming visitors to their school, so many guests from the lodge are able to visit, as the school is only a short walk away.

The school began in 1996 with 15 Tongabezi staff children and now has over 220 students who all walk to school – some from as far as 1 ½ hours walk away. The children who attend Tujatane come from families with no running water and they generally live in one or two roomed mud huts. The children have to contribute to chores at home, including collecting firewood and water. Many of the children live with extended family, some sadly due to being orphaned but also for many, so that they can live closer to education. From having this opportunity to get an education, some former students are are now studying law, medicine, accountancy and much more at universities in Zambia, South Africa and the US.

The school has also started a food programme as many children come to school without breakfast and some may only have one meal a day. Since this began, they have seen a dramatic rise in the academic results. Children are able to focus in class with something in their tummies! $10 per month provides a child with porridge for breakfast and at break time for lunch, the children have Nsima (the local maize meal staple) with tomato, onion and cabbage and either beans or boiled egg.

While the cultures of different countries vary in myriad ways, they also contain many shared values. Among these is the universal understanding that education is a core component of healthy development.  Apart from the first classroom, which Tongabezi built, the development of the school has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of patrons all over the world. The school has charity status in the UK, is a registered Trust in Zambia and is completely funded through donations. Contributions include sponsorship for individual children, teachers salaries, help with our food and medical programs and building projects. The school currently has seven classrooms, an office, a library, a kitchen, an amphitheatre, a storeroom, a computer room with eight donated laptops and a fantastic new music room with guitars and keyboards as well as local instruments such as the marimba.

Through education, Tujatane becomes the starting point for change. The children and their parents understand that education will bring opportunity. We can all help to make opportunity a reality. Won’t you consider seeing how you can provide towards the cornerstone which improves the living conditions for the people of Tongabezi.

For more information or to contribute, please email: vanessa@tongabezi.com and visit: www.tujatane.com