It's that time of year when everything is vibrant green and the pupils are queuing at the office for their 2011 sponsorship. January is a busy time for the sponsorship programme; we have supplied school uniforms, shoes, stationery, paid school fees and arranged for transport of nearly 80 children.

January brought plenty of good news, and we were impressed with the generosity of our kind supporters. A big thank you to everyone who has made a donation.

Christmas update
Many thanks to everyone who responded to our Christmas Appeal Newsletter. All in all we have found sponsors for 38 Secondary School students and 39 attending Primary school.

Child sponsorship was a popular Christmas gift, especially sponsorship of the younger children. Quite a few were last minute gifts and Dave and I spent an exciting Christmas morning as the emails came in one after another confirming sponsorship of many children. It was great to be able to respond straight way and I think that receiving a conformation card on Christmas Day took a few people by surprise.

Most children have now started back at school - apart from those awaiting their Grade 9 results - and have been busy writing "thank you" letters to their sponsors and delivering them to the Project Luangwa office. We'll send these on as we get them. There are still a few unsponsored kids so it's not too late if you fancy helping a vulnerable child through a year of valuable education.

Visiting Kawaza
When you think of volunteers you normally think of young gap year students - all vibrant energy and out to have a good time. But four Project Luangwa volunteers, whilst out to enjoy themselves, were definately not in the gap year category.

Bernice and Don Willoughby and their friends Bonnie and John Schmelke are - now how shall I put this - not teenagers or even in their twenties. As part of a month long tour of Zambia they chose to spend a nearly a week staying in Kawaza Village and painting classrooms at the school.

And what a time they had! Between cleaning and painting they got to know the pupils and teachers at the school and many of the villagers. They taught a member of the community to paint and from then on had him as chief assistant practising his new found skills. Taking time off from painting and leaving the men to do the hard work Bonnie and Bernice were able to attend a baby clinic held at the school, help in class with the students reading and introduce the Grade 9 class to IPads and emailing to Canada.

Evenings were all about warm beer and entertainment Zambian style - but don't take our word for it - read Bernice's own views of their stay here. I'll just leave you with an extract that says it all:

"However, after four wonderful weeks and all the game drives, walks, dining and game veiwing the most memorable part of the trip for me, and I think I can speak for the others, was our stay at Kawaza village."

Books for Nsefu
What were you doing on January 21st 2011? Struggling to work on a snowy morning? Getting ready for a relaxing weekend? Emma Watson was running over 42 kilometers in a Middle Eastern desert. Well - not actually a desert but almost. Emma, who had been training for months, completed the Dubai Marathon, which is run around the city streets, and raised at least $2300 for Project Luangwa.

Not wanting to be left out, her children, Gregory, Meghan and Elspeth ran the 3km race with their dad, Gavin.

Emma tells me that not all the money is in yet but says that she would like us to buy text books for Nsefu School with her hard earned cash. Since the Zambian Education Board asked Nsefu school to start teaching Grades 8 and 9 the teachers have been struggling with just one text book in each subject. That's one for the teacher - the children must make do with copying from the blackboard.

For each subject the Headmaster has requested just one textbook for every three pupils plus a teacher's guide. Now, with Emma's help will be able to buy about 330 Zambian text books. Thank you Emma.

There have been other donations for textbooks too. Howard and Sue Natrass, Pam Owens, Peter Lemon and Laura Elliott between them have donated $662. Lesley Courteney-O'Connor, a Science teacher in Australia, recently donated enough funds to buy Kawaza Basic School Science books for Grades 1 to 9. On hearing about Nsefu she has promised a donation to cover their science text books too. Thanks to all these generous people we were able to order most of the books needed and have already received a delivery. Thank you everyone. Our next traget is a full set for the new Grade 5 at Katapila and a set for the new Grade 8 at Kakumbi Basic School. More about this here.
Mfuwe Day Secondary School
When I first visted Mfuwe Day Secondary School the Headmistress told me that they were "squatting" I thought I'd misheard her. Unfortunately I hadn't and I learnt that the school has almost no classrooms of it's own. Lessons must take place in classrooms borrowed from the Primary School next door.

The school PTA and local community have got together to remedy the situation and started to build a 1 x 3 classroom block. Project Luangwa was very happy to be able to contribute 125 bags of cement bought with a generous donation of almost $2000 from Nick Abel. Thank you Nick.

We are also pleased to anounce a very generous donation from a Flatdogs Camp client who is keen to help with another complete classroom block. Project Luangwa intends to make the school a priority in 2011 and so watch out for updates on this exciting new project.

More next month
This has been a mere snippit of all the news for this month and we'll be adding more to the website on a weekly basis. Don't forget you can keep up with things by checking out the News page on the website too.

It's been a great start to 2011 and once again thank you to all our kind supporters - we couldn't do what we do without your kind generosity.

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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