Hello everyone.

It’s been a hectic few months here in South Luangwa, so hectic in fact, that we’ve only just found the time to write our first newsletter. Just as you would expect these first months have had their share of bureaucracy and frustration. But it's all been worth it. Here is just a little of what we’ve been up to.

Pilot Post - Off to a flying start
Who would have thought that when a couple of British Airways pilots went on safari they would end up becoming regular postmen?

Following a visit to Kawaza School Wendy Smith wondered how she could help children in South Luangwa. She contacted Project Luangwa about sponsoring one of the many orphans and over the following few weeks arranged to twin Elmtree School, where she works, with a school in the Luangwa Valley. But this wasn’t enough for Wendy.

She then set about collecting recycled books and educational resources from her local schools to send to Zambia. But how to get them here without it costing a fortune?

Well, Wendy isn’t shy of asking a favour, especially from sister, Elaine and brother-in-law, Bill who both happen to be pilots for British Airways. Now each time they fly to Lusaka they bring with them a suitcase or two of books. But the books still have to get to Mfuwe. Robin Pope Safaris came to the rescue and arranged for Proflight, a Zambian domestic airline, to add the cases to their Mfuwe run whenever they have the space.
Christmas, January and the start of a new school year are all approaching fast and it may be a tough time for some of our sponsored pupils. In 2010 we were fortunate to find sponsors for 57 kids at Secondary School level, but it looks as though it could be a different story for 2011. 'Global' as it is known locally (or the recession, to the rest of us) is still an influence and we are struggling to find enough sponsors to cover them all.

This is where we need your help —there are still at least 35 orphaned or vulnerable Secondary School kids who have not yet received an offer of sponsorship. Their reports and exam results are excellent and each one is working hard to make the most of their only chance to receive an education.

These are children from the poorest sections of an impoverished rural community and without sponsorship their chance of continuing their education is virtually nonexistent.

It can cost as little as $150 per year to send a pupil to Secondary School and much less for Primary education. If you would like to help one of these kids to continue their education please visit our sponsorship page to find out more.

See the kids that need your help
Many of the children who need your help can be seen in the "Meet the Kids" section on our website. We've given the Secondary and Primary pupils separate pages and add more on a regular basis. With nearly 4000 orphans in the area the need is desparate.

A thought for Christmas
Child sponsorship can make a rewarding and lasting Christmas gift. We can send the child's details to a third party letting them know all about the child they have sponsored and keep will them updated throughout the year. We've even designed e-cards to send to them on your behalf.

Chiyembekezo gets new jumpers
Mfuwe has many tiny Community Schools and one such is Chiyembekezo. The school has no permanent building of its own and holds classes for orphans and other vulnerable children in a local church.

When Martha Holmes and her children, Zu (8) and Titus (6), visited the school they brought boxes and boxes of new but discontinued sweat shirts from Agincourt School in the UK. Receiving something new was quite overwhelming for some of the tinier children but soon they were all proudly sporting their new purple tops and posing for a group photo. Thank you Martha, Zu, Titus and Agincourt School.

Flatdogs Camp, who supports the school, is currently raising funds to build a classroom block, toilets and a teacher’s house. Contributions may be made via the Project Luangwa website.

This coming January will see 17 of the children ready to start Grade 1 at Mfuwe Basic School but their guardians will struggle to provide the required uniforms and stationery. If you would like to help by sponsoring one of these children you can see them featured on the "Primary Pupils" page. It costs just $80 to provide all they need for the whole year.
World Challenge visits Kakumbi
When World Challenge Educational Expeditions asked us to organise a project for a team of 18 year old students from Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in the UK we immediately thought of Kakumbi School. Remote and neglected, the school was in a poor state of repair and the classrooms in particular were long overdue a lick of paint.

To be driven along potholed tracks deep into rural Africa and know you are to be left there for 5 days is a daunting experience but even more so is to be met with a barrage of cheers from 400 noisy kids hovering between exuberant curiosity and shy terror.

Rarely visited, this was a new experience for the school and local community but with the volunteers camping right next to the village borehole it didn't take long for everyone to overcome their initial shyness and take them into their hearts and homes.

Most of the team from had opted to redecorate a classroom or two and quickly cracked on with cleaning and painting. Two boys painted a magnificent mural on the exterior end of a classroom providing endless entertainment for the children and villagers whom came daily to watch their progress whilst, much to the amusement of the local boys, a couple of girls turned their hand to carpentry and repaired a many of the broken desks.

However it wasn’t all work and the team organised a final afternoon of sport. Wheel barrow and piggy back races are not an everyday occurrence in Zambia but the children proved to be experts and their only problem was trying to stop laughing long enough to win a race.

But it wasn't just a one way cultural experience; both the community and the volunteers all agreed that they learnt much from each other (although I am unsure of the cultural value of the hokey-cokey).

You can find out more about volunteering by taking a look at our volunteer's page.

Now we are Seven
Project Luangwa was started with the support of six Safari Lodges and now we would like to welcome our latest member, Marula Lodge. Since their arrival in Mfuwe the new management team at Marula have taken an active interest in providing community support and it was for this reason we were delighted to accept their application to join PL. We wish them well and look forward to working closely with them on future community support programmes.

It certainly has been a hectic few months but the project is heading in the right direction and, with your continued support will go from strength to strength. Both Dave and I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful area and have the chance to make a difference to so many children's lives. And working in Mfuwe has an added bonus; being able to stop working for a few moments and glace out of our office window over the lagoon at elephants drinking the the water's edge.

More news to follow soon . . .

Visit our website for more info www.projectluangwa.org. To donate simply click here.

If you shop online you can support PL by going through www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/projectluangwa

Project Luangwa is proudly supported by:
Robin Pope Safaris, Flatdogs Camp, Shenton Safaris, Kafunta Safaris, Croc valley

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