Tag: education

Detailed Hand-Work Puts Charm Into African Pieces

Read below an excerpt from a piece in the November 2012 issue of the Kootenay Quilters’ Day Guild Newsletter. The article focuses on the work of one of the founding members of Malambo Grassroots with the women’s group in Zambia!

Squares for Quilts Drying in the Zambian Sun

The Malambo Grassroots organization is a success story that makes Marylee Banyard feel a great sense of inner contentment. Over the course of the last 20 years, Marylee has seen the women involved in the organization develop their skills and flourish. As a grassroots organization, they hone their handiwork so that it can easily be sold at fundraisers in Canada. Many quilters purchase the hand-embroidered pieces and make them into attractive wall hangings or quilts, such as the work of Nellie Shukin depicted above. Money is used to support community initiatives sponsored by the women and is also critical to the success of ongoing maintenance of plumbing in the centre and the preventive maintenance of 2 industrial sewing machines and 6 other machines. In addition to Marylee’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Nelson generously donated tables and chairs and an industrial sewing machine to the centre. Private donors have also assisted to ensure that the centre flourishes.

This year Marylee will assist with a project to enhance the work of the local PTA. A guest speaker will talk about the childrens’ education. The women of the centre will then break into 6 groups to discuss issues surrounding the presentation and will develop an embroidered banner depicting their discussion issue and possible ways to resolve the issue. This whole process is also aired in the media. The sense of community involvement and development is significant.

Goat or no goat? Part 3 of 3: What more could we do?


The children and young adults who come to us for scholarships know that a good education will change their lives, so they really want this chance.


Our first initiative in Zambia was an income generating project for women, the Malambo Women’s Group. But we asked ourselves, what more could we do?

My aunt, Dr. Thea Savory, had started a free medical clinic and a scholarship program. We support these programs. We wanted them to grow. My mother is an educator and used to do curriculum development. We had been courted for a few years by the local headmaster, but we held off initially because we worried about how much funds we would be able to access. We could see the need was immense, beyond our limited means. So now we are working with schools.

We are also contributing to the scholarships. I went shopping with my aunt in Choma. We were stopped by the security guard of the shop—who thanked us profusely.  He was a high school graduate and got this job on the strength of that. It was a good job.

We have had college and university graduates in a number of fields. Lately a young man graduated as a radiographer. He works in a hospital in northern Zambia and can now in turn contribute to the education of other children in his family. He is very grateful for his education and was very disappointed that my aunt could not attend his degree ceremony.

Sometimes when we are in Zambia, we help with the huge job of interviewing and processing the scholarship applications. This has to be done three times a year, and for some programs, four times. It’s an enormous effort. Our scholarship fund is limited. We have to say no to many prospective students. This is extremely hard to do—to say no to a child who really wants to go to school. The kids beg and cry. I find this tremendously difficult. These children and young adults know that a good education will change their lives, so they really want this chance.

This is what we want to give Zambians, a good education and the opportunity to have a better future.

Goat or no goat? Part 2: Where do we go from here?


Harriet is a member of the Malambo Women's Group, which was our first initiative. It's an income generating group for women.


How do we get beyond addressing only the immediate needs of Zambians? What is the next step, after providing food, for example? How do we get beyond the need to provide this bandaid-style charity, because, to tell the truth, we have been working in Zambia for many years, and still there are now even more in need.

I think giving to address primary needs is still important. 

But it needs to be linked to education. Education is the next step.  It gets people to the point where they have the ability to improve their futures themselves.

These villagers need more access to education. They need support so they can continue beyond, they need better schools and a strong curriculum, they need access to scholarships, college, and university. If they don’t manage to finish high school, they need skills training so they have the chance at a career. 

Giving education is a gift that lasts all one’s life. Not only that, it spreads beyond the individual. It opens the doors to good jobs in countries like Zambia that are in short supply of an educated workforce. These educated workers send money home to their village relatives and they sponsor younger relatives to further their education. 

Malambo Grassroots has worked for years on a shoestring—small funds and few people resources. However, we have constantly tried to maximized our impact. When we are in Zambia, we are volunteers, living rent-free and with a support system offered by the farm where we stay— security, power, a network of people who help us here and there. With this we have the ability to maximize our outreach.

With our first few dollars we decided to start an income generating project for women. The women asked us. We have found that the women’s first priority with their income is their family–food, clothing, medical needs, and schooling expenses for their children. So we started some more income generating projects. We were able to minimize our need for money by starting simple craft-based projects, and maximize on our ability to donate our time for training. We kept expenses low. We had to.

So time has been one of our resources. We kept going back to Zambia. Our projects were running. What more could we do?  

Next post is the third and final section of this essay: What more could we do?

Focus on Education

One of Malambo Grassroots’ main objectives is to support education in southern Zambia. In early 2010, one of our volunteers went to Zambia to work with schools. Here’s an excerpt from her letter to York House School in Vancouver, BC, who sent donations over with her:

“I have visited several schools in rural Monze and they all are doing the best they can to educate their students with very limited resources.  The Malambu School on the Moorings farm is one of the smallest schools I have been to.  There are 250 students.  They have no electricity and no running water (none of the schools here do).  To get water, they must walk back into the village about 1 km to the well. There they pump water and then carry it back on their heads in buckets. 

“Below is a picture of one of the classrooms.  It is in need of repair and they do not have enough desks.  Learnserve, an American organization, is donating 16 desks as well as money to rebuid this classroom and one other.


“There are no supplies in the school other than their curriculum books, most of which are donated by the two women I am staying with.  The government doesn’t have enough money to support the schools here.

“There are three teachers at the school plus the headmaster Mr. Mweetwa.

“On Thursday Jocelyn and I taught an art class to the Grade 6 and 7 classes.  After we explained what we were going to do (drawing animals first in crayon and then painting over the drawings), we handed out white paper for everyone to draw on. Many of the children just stared at the paper for a very long time and did not draw.  We were told that none of the students had ever held a crayon or painted before.

“Once they got going, they were very focused and excited and they loved the bright colours that came from the paint. 

“We later found out that there were two small boxes of crayons at the school, but they are considered so precious that the boxes had never been opened.

“Here the students are using the paint and paintbrushes that your class donated.

“I gave the school your cards today and the children stood up and read many of them out loud.  They enjoyed receiving them and they will be hung up in the school.  They spent a long time looking at the photos, the artwork, and your words.  They haven’t had an opportunity to see many of the things that you see everyday such as the ocean, beavers, mountains, snow, and snowboards.”


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