a new dawn - a vision of hope

Trustees visit to Zambia September 2013

On September 8th Ian Parker and Geoff Lucock set off for Zambia to visit many of the schools that have received Literacy Boxes in the past and to help distribute the newly arrived Literacy Boxes sent as part of the recent matching grant project.


Ian writes

"Our departure for Zambia coincided with the celebration of International Literacy Day on 8th September and the purpose of the trip was two-fold.  Firstly, we went to evaluate the work of the Trust by visiting the schools and projects to which Literacy Boxes had been sent since the first boxes were sent in 2006.  Secondly, we went to represent Roborough Rotary Club on the occasion of the distribution of Literacy Boxes and curriculum text books from their Matching Grant Project with Mfuwe Rotary Club, Zambia.

Zambia is a warm, friendly yet poor country but nothing can prepare you for the difference between thinking you know what Zambia is like ( from the video imagery we have on our DVD ) and what we actually saw and experienced.  Much of the fringe forested countryside of Lusaka, the capital, has been chopped down for wood or to make into charcoal for cooking and the air is constantly filled with the smell of bonfires.  Market stalls lined the city roads, traffic was chaotic and everywhere people were walking the main roads to and from their villages.  Very quickly, the made up tar roads shifted to dirt roads of varying levels of bumpiness and although there is a road building programme underway, it will only link the major towns and leave even sizeable villages accessible only by the dirt tracks ( with no sign posts!! )

We arrived in Lusaka @ 06.15hrs on Monday 9th Sept and by the time we left for Mfuwe at 16.10hrs on Friday 13th we had visited 14 schools and projects, including Maluba Rotary Club and their project for HIV widows and orphans and the RotaKids of Libala Basic and Interactors of Libala High Schools, who have a link under Project Zambia with Wye Valley School in Bourne End, Bucks.  We also spoke with Akim Banda, the Programme Manager for the British Council, who arranged the link between Wye Valley School and Libala - just one link of the 250 he has made between Zambian and UK schools.

We had a delightful flight up to Mfuwe and after a relaxing weekend we were off again in and around Mfuwe a 07.00hrs on Monday 16th Sept.  This time we doubled up on our assessment of the work of the Trust, with our other role as representatives for Roborough Rotary club as Literacy Boxes and text books were handed over to the delighted children and staff of Mfuwe Day Secondary and Mkhanya Community Schools.  These schools are projects of Project Luangwa and were adopted by Mfuwe Rotary Club for the Matching Grant.  In addition to the two Matching Grant schools we visited six more schools, including Mfuwe Basic, which received the first ever Literacy Box and Msoro, which received the second ever Literacy Box and required a six hour round trip through the bush for the visit.  In this time we also saw first hand the wonderful work that two Mfuwe Rotarians were doing in their own charities, The Chipembele Trust and Project Luangwa.

On Friday 20th the final post on Facebook was made of our incredible experience, all made possible by our hosts, Grace, Peter and Kathy in Lusaka and Anna and Karen in Mfuwe.  There is no doubt from the feedback we received, that Literacy Boxes and text books sent over the years by the Trust, along with support from other charities, is enabling children to do better in their exams and move further up their grade system than previously.  We are now back in the UK reflecting on what we saw and how we will move forward, but one thing is for certain, whatever we do will be governed by the indelible memory of our trip.  A humbling experience and a privilege to have been able to do it."

The following photo galleries are avaliable.  Commentaries can be found by clicking on individual images.

Zambia trip, In and around Lusaka, September 2013 - 39 photos

Zambia trip, Matching grant project, September 2013 - 18 photos

Zambia trip, Chipembele, September 2013 - 8 photos

Zambia trip, Project Luangwa, September 2013 - 13 photos

Zambia trip, Msoro, September 2013 - 11 photos