We are privileged to live and work in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but life in rural Zambia is tough. Education is expensive and facilities are limited. Tourism to the South Luangwa National Park creates many jobs for the local people and just by visiting us you are contributing! We consider ourselves part of this community and involve ourselves in many aspects of it. We use local taxis, offer free space for local craftsmen to sell goods, and even have a local manicurist working through us, we really do try to promote entrepreneurship wherever we can.
What we do......and how you can help.
Mike and Jenny have a small charity - Raise a Smile. Primarily we run reading programmes in libraries in local schools. Once the kids learned to read, we realised they needed books, and a cool place to spend their free time, so we expanded to libraries. Before we knew it we had Grade Zero and Adult Literacy programmes!
It is exciting and rewarding work . Because of the large numbers (100+ to a class) we have trained and employed wonderful Zambians to teach reading. These are folk most valuable resource. If you are able to make a contribution towards their salaries, that would be wonderful! We also need used or new books, whiteboard markers, pencils, crayons, balls jigsaw ,puzzles. To get an idea of our favourites take a look at our Amazon wishlist (no need to buy from Amazon, but they show the books well)
Reading Reading Reading
As a lodge, we are personally involved with nearby Uyoba and Chiutika School, where we have, together with Rotary International, Sarah's Charity and Africa Hope Fund built and repaired school buildings and provided libraries. Our man focus is to teach children to read. Reading is the key to the future for our kids and to this end we work alongside the schools. Sponsors help us to pay local teachers that we have trained to teach reading in the two schools. It brings us great joy to see children with few opportunities, pouring over books and playing educational games in a safe and inspiring environment. We are always looking for new books (Mfuwe libraries Amazon wish list) and love to receive good used children’s books. To offer the children opportunities to use, and hear, English we also run literacy and craft clubs in the holidays and on Saturday Mornings. For these we need basic supplies such as crayons, paints, paper, glue, laminating sheets, whiteboard markers, wool, fabric and cardboard. If you are able to help with any of these, we would be happy to give you more specific advice as to what is currently needed if you email us.
We all know the importance of computer literacy in our modern world and to this end ICT is now a compulsory subject in Zambian secondary schools. There are, however, many schools with no computers at all. We were fortunate recently, to be able to pass on 14 laptops from donors to Chiutika School. For the first time ever the 1400 children have a computer in the classroom. Donors have also provided for connection of electricity which helps enormously.
If you have a used laptop which is still in working condition, it would be treasured here. It needs to have been cleared of everything except windows which is the system required by the education department.
We also support pre-schools in the village, they need all manner of school supplies, from paper, to pencils and crayons, books (especially the board books for toddlers), toys, lego, dolls, soft toys, games and simple jigsaw puzzles. Small whiteboards and pens to go with them would be especially fantastic!
We welcome volunteers who would be able to work in the preschool, or the libraries. Ideally the volunteer needs to be with us for a month or two and should be able to finance their own flights, accommodation (at a highly discounted rate) medical insurance, and visas. They should have some experience in education, storytelling or fun activities, and enjoy being with very keen children. If you would like to devote some time and energy to some very deserving children, please feel free to contact us for more details. If you don’t have that sort of time available, you are always welcome to visit the library and join in activities for a few days or hours!
Of course none of us would be here if it weren’t for the wonderful wildlife in the South Luangwa National Park. Conservation South Luangwa (http://cslzambia.org/) run by the wonderful Rachel McRobb works tirelessly to protect and conserve our animals. If you would like to support this wonderful organisation please look at their website. Donations will be gladly accepted once you are here.