It’s Monday 28th June 2010 and Kawaza School story by Jo

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Kawaza School and Village in the Nsefu Village area. I got impressed with the structured 5 year plan they have in place and how individual donations have been making the difference over the years.

It was a unique experience to get in contact with the local culture and an opportunity to meet beautiful and happy people as those children which look like angels.

I come with my heart full of love and with the will of sharing with you the project in detail. So who better than Jo Pope, the founder of this project to tell us all about it? Over to you Jo:

“Well I miss you too! It has indeed a long time. Robin and I have of course been busy. Building a new home outside Lusaka – which is on short finals now and we are moving in on 15 July (“and I mean it” I keep saying to the builders). We decided to go more town style as this is a novelty for us. I think everyone is expecting a whacky bush house but no, it is “terribly house and garden”.

During these months I have managed a couple of trips to the Luangwa – however, not enough. But once the house is finished I will be able to visit more. I am still very involved in the community work and in fact am in the process of developing the concept further. I did tell you all about this in myfinal newsletter in February.

I am going to give you a reminder of the history of the Kawaza School Fund. It started off by helping Kawaza School in 1988. Some years later, I found out that a nearby government school was about to be closed down as the buildings were condemned and yet hundreds of children were being turned away each year. So with the generous donations from RPS guests, we were able to rebuild Nsefu School. Still not enough places and so we started two new schools Kapita and Katapilla. Kawaza School Fund is now supporting four schools (around 1700 children). You only have to see the weeping faces of the children who are turned away each year to want to do something. So we aim to continue to build at the new schools.

Another of the major problems is that there basically no secondary schools and so children have to go to the expensive boarding schools from 120 km away. Not affordable by most. Through the fund we sponsor 50 children though school but this a drop in the ocean. We need expand Kawaza and Nsefu Schools into secondary schools to help alleviate this pressure.

All this has only been possible due to the extremely generous donations from our guests. It has certainly been a team effort!

I have always felt that it is great for the kids going to a sponsored school but what about the kids who go to schools that have no sponsorship. Some of these schools are still in a very surprising state – no or few desks, leaking roofs etc. Take a look at the photos of a school recently visited I think it is important to be able to spread the benefits of tourism over a wider area. However, RPS is committed to the Kawaza School Fund and so how to do this. This is where Project Luangwa comes in. We have set up a charity with other lodges in the area and together we can address the wider issues. And as a larger charity we will be able to apply for grants. And at this point take a look at the website!!

So, as I do from time to time, I am asking for support. We need USD 52,000 a year just to pay the sponsored childrens’ school fees and the teachers salaries that we are committed to. And whatever comes on top of this goes to building projects. Since the recession we have had a drop in the donations. But we have a commitment to the community and so really hope that you can help. Web based donations, UK donations , US donations, Australia donations Remember – every penny counts and any small donation helps! Thank you!

What else. In May I travelled. Firstly to Namibia for the annual Classics meeting – lots of like minded people with much in common. Always great fun. We stayed at a fabulous lodge called The Fort, on the Onguma reserve outside Etosha and somehow I was persuaded to take on the Chair of Classics – what happened there? Then onto South Africa for Indaba, the annual trade show. Great to see so many old friends as always.

The final leg of the trip was Cape Canaveral, Florida for the amazing experience of watching the space shuttle Atlantis lift off. That really was a “blast” especially since my cousin, Piers Sellers, was in the shuttle. Yes – he is an astronaut which is really very cool. His previous two lift offs had conflicted with the annual trade show in South Africa and so I had not gone before. But this time I had to. It was his last shuttle “safari”. What an experience – far more brilliant and emotional that I was expecting.

On my return to Zambia I had a few weeks of catching up at the building site before I headed off to spend ten days with Robin on the Liuwa Plains. He had been there for five weeks at this point. As usual I found him as happy as a bunny – he so loves this remote, wild part of the world. I helped him with a big group and loved rolling up my safari sleeves and getting stuck in.

So life has been busy, “moveous” (as Robin says) and lots of fun! I am picking the daisies and hope you are too.” – Jo

Have a lovely week.

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