Hello from Malambo Grassroots!
We begin this newsletter update with a thank you. We wanted to highlight why you are so important to the success of Malambo Grassroots and the people we support and work with in Zambia:
Our projects in Zambia often meet challenges –from power outages, which effect the whole community to rising tuition fees, which makes the continuation of funding our students difficult. However, we are continually amazed at the support we receive from our donors, and the on-the-ground support we have from those we work with. From the support of Rose Charities Canada and local and international donors to colleagues such as Sister Lontia and Mwabuka in Zambia and to those supporting us in other countries around the world, we cannot thank our donors enough.
Through you, we had a successful fundraising campaign in 2015 on a new platform for us, the crowd-sourcing platform of Tilt. The money raised through that made continuing our scholarship fund possible.
The support you all continue to give –whether it be financial, or simply telling others about our work –continually improves the lives of others.
Because of you:
- We are helping our orphans and half orphans at St. Vincent de Paul continue their education into highschool and now college.
- Being able to fund students at the university level is a relatively new endeavor for us. Many gifted students are now able to continue their studies. This, in turn, betters whole communities as graduates often return to their homes to make positive changes with the knowledge they’ve received.
- Families who used to solely rely on farming for income have now been able to diversify their skills and still have an income when drought seasons impact their crops.
- We are able to assist students that are musically gifted to continue in musical education, who otherwise would not be able to do so — both at the college level, as well as our music scholarship program for young instrumentalists and singers at Ngoma Dolce Music Academy.
The support given also lasts far beyond the initial donation. The pianos and other musical instruments that we sent over in 2012 continue to bring joy, inspiration, and education to many, as well as the books and educational supplies which allow students to attend class each day.
What’s happening in Zambia?
Not many people know that Zambia is facing a massive drought year. The country also experiences constant power outages. While Zambians are extremely resourceful, between lack of power and the weather, there are food shortages.
As well, students in many grades now need to take their exams on computers –very difficult without the right equipment. The following update from Mwabuka, our on-the-ground partner in Zambia, really highlights some current challenges facing Zambia:
“The Kwacha has devalued 75% (currently from 7 to 12.5 Kwacha for 1 US dollar), with subsequent increased prices in the shops. Due to several years of low rainfall, selling of electricity and increased internal demand, Kariba dam is emptying fast and
unable to provide enough electricity resulting in daily 8-10 hours with no power in Lusaka”
But even with all the challenges, there’s been some amazing successes we’d like to share with you!
We’re been working in Zambia for almost 25 years. From where we began to where we are now is incredible. Did you know that when we began focusing on education, the first school we worked with had students taking classes under a tree and writing lessons in the dirt? The first paper our Grade 7 students had seen was when they sat down to write their exams. So we began to build, working with highly dedicated local teachers and using donations from donors like you. We are pleased to report that all 5 of our university level students are either graduating top of their class, or continuing to do well in their studies! Highlighting the success of just two of our students shows the amazing work your support has done.
Mweemba, who we’ve had in our scholarship program for 4 years now, continues to do well. With his good grades, we are confident that he will have every success in his future career in banking and finance. He is also set to write his final exams for his second-to-last semester in December. Good luck, Mweemba! Read more on Mweemba’s story here.
And Iven Moonga, who joined our scholarship program at the university level, is doing really well also. We’ve had a long-term relationship with the Moonga family and are so happy to see Iven thriving! Please read a letter here that outlines his work.
Our income generating projects have also shown success. Read on for a fantastic, heart-warming update that Jocelyn, who is currently based in Canada, received from Zambia:
“A PHONE CALL FROM LUSAKA… so nice! Maureen, one of the women who learnt how to hook rugs with us, updates me on her life. All her children are in school (See how happy her little girl is – Blessings has started pre-school!) She has regular buyers for ALL her carpets. She works on them 3 days a week – a carpet a day! With the proceeds she has finished building her house in Siavonga. It has water AND electricity! Well done Maureen! What next… ‘I’m going to build another house and rent it out as well.’ She is truly launched. I am so very happy.”
We have lots of exciting work ahead! If you’d like to get more involved, learn more about the education system in Zambia, or simply learn more about our projects, please check out our ever-updating website! We are also planning another Tilt campaign, so look out for details on that soon!
We also wanted to say good-bye to a dear friend, Elizabeth Colson, a world renowned American anthropologist who dedicated her life’s work to the Tonga people, with whom Malambo Grassroots works. She passed away in August at 99 years of age, sitting on her verandah in Zambia, watching the birds. She was a remarkable woman, incredibly generous with all and will be greatly missed. Thank you for all you did, Elizabeth.
Please read about Elizabeth’s life and work on the blog, Remnants of Empire, by Pamela Shurmer-Smith.
Thank you again, or as we say in Zambia, Twalumba!
The Team at Malambo Grassroots