Wednesday, November 04, 2009

November Updates and Fundraising News

Thank you to all of you who atended our Band Night @ Woolton Village Club last Friday. The night was a resounding success and we raised over £1100!!! Every penny of the money raised wiill go directly towards our project to build and sustain a school in Zambia!!!

This Friday (6th November) we're doing it all over again!! This time we're putting on a Bands Night @ Shenanigans Irish Pub in central Liverpool. It's £5 on the door and is on from 8pm till late! It promises to me a great night of beer, banter, music and dancing. It would be great to see you there!

Thanks again to all our members. It is inspiring to know that over 1800 people have taken the time to support our cause. We are deeply humbled and with your help and support we know that we can make real differneces in the lives of some of the poorest people in the world. Unllike most large institutionalised charities we do not employ any fundraisers or administrators and as such we guarantee that 100% of the money we raise goes directly to where it is needed. Furthermore, we also meet all of the costs associated with the running of the charity from our own resources. This again ensures that not one penny donated to our cause is misused or wasted.

Please continue to support us in whatever way you can. Inviite all your friends to join the cause, post on our message boards (it's nice to know we're loved!?!) or if possible help us to fundraise. Perhaps you could arrange or participate in a sponsored event on our behalf? You might be able to involve work colleagues or fellow students? Every little bit helps!

Do not hesitate to contact Will, Betty or I for more information about how you can help us.

Thanks again for all your support.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

World Teachers' Day - Zambian teachers face real challenges

This article is from The Post, Zambia. It outlines the difficulties facing teachers in Zambia. The Thembinkosi Foundation, through its range of outreach projects in Kazungula and Livingstone will seek to empower Zambian teachers through the provision of In Service Training and Professional Development for local teachers. We will work in partnership with schools and administrators in order to ensure that we can help to break the cycle of poverty through education.

'Every year on October 5, the world commemorates World Teachers Day. It cannot be denied that teachers have contributed heavily to the development of the world by ensuring that qualified manpower is nurtured from a tender age through the provision of basic elementary education which is the basic of all individuals in order to attain higher professional qualifications.
Most of the childhood years are spent at school. It is for this reason that teachers are considered to be parents of the pupils they teach. Years spent at school are part of memories for many people, be it sad or happy.
In Zambia, the welfare of teachers lags behind in comparison to other countries. It is not surprising to hear some highly educated people in government declare that teachers are unproductive hence no need to pay them well. Nonetheless, the productivity of teachers is seen in the highly qualified manpower which is the basis of any strong economy in the world. In line with this year’s theme “Build the Future, Invest in Education”. For any meaningful development to take place in a country there is need to have qualified personnel and this is only possible if teachers are involved at all levels of education.
In recent years, teachers in Zambia have continued to upgrade themselves academically. Just after independence, the country had very few qualified teachers; this led to employing of school leavers to teach in some schools. This went on until the late 1990s. To date the teaching profession in Zambia boast of having the highest number of highly qualified personnel. A few years ago Diploma holders were deployed to teach in high schools but things have changed and we now have many degree holders in most high schools.
Additionally, government has played a very pivotal role by upgrading some teachers’ college of education into universities. This will increase the number of highly qualified teachers. Furthermore, the introduction of distance education programmes at universities and other colleges have opened opportunities for many teachers to upgrade their qualifications. Nevertheless, the government is doing little in helping the teachers acquire higher qualifications due to constraints in financing the education of already serving teachers. Most teachers are sacrificing their low incomes to supplement their education. I believe government needs to come on board and offer sponsorship to many teachers.
In celebrating World Teachers Day, it is important that the various challenges affecting teachers are enlightened in order to fully appreciate the role our teachers have continued to play in our country under difficult circumstances.
In Urban areas, the greatest challenge is housing. After independence most schools had enough houses which were built with assistance from the World Bank. However, the increase in population in our country has resulted into most schools being upgraded to accommodate more pupils, this has also meant that more teachers have been employed. However, the upgrading of most schools has not marched with the increasing demand of houses by teachers. This has forced many teachers to live in substandard houses. A long time ago, shanty compounds in Zambia were considered to be dens for mischievous citizens but today these same illegal compounds are home to teachers and other professionals.
Currently, housing allowances provided by the government is inadequate as compared to the rental charges and it is not paid on time. Most landlords in Zambia today demand to be paid in advance but the government has failed to do so as can be seen by the huge amounts owed to teachers in housing allowances dating from 2003. It is important that the government speeds up the process of building houses in schools or empower teachers with mortgages to build or buy houses. Teacher unions can also supplement government efforts by empowering teachers with accommodation.
In rural areas, teachers have continued to face various challenges which have contributed to the high rate of rural urban drift of teachers. After 45 years of independence, our country still has grass-thatched schools as houses for teachers in rural areas. It is imaginable for a highly qualified professionals to live in a mud house in this century. Additionally, most rural schools lack basic necessities such as clean water, transport and communication network, electricity and health services. Surprisingly, most rural teachers in Zambia have been deprived of rural hardship allowances since last year. The government is doing very little in attracting more teachers to serve in rural areas. It is vital that rural retention incentives are given to teachers in rural areas such as vehicle loans, solar systems and an attractive rural hardship allowance. Most rural schools have continued to record poor results due to shortage of manpower. A critical analysis on the distribution of labour force in the ministry of education will show that most urban schools are over staffed while rural areas are extremely understaffed. It is not surprising in rural areas to find a single teacher teaching the entire school. This is overworking a teacher and compromising the quality of education.
The professional conduct of teachers has greatly improved in our country though there is need for the teaching service commission to be decentralised. Currently, the teaching service commission in Lusaka is responsible for promoting, demoting, retiring and confirming teachers; this has led into delays to address matters affecting teachers. Furthermore, the poor work culture in human resource department at district level has also contributed to delays.It is common knowledge by all teachers that you cant have a problem solved at the offices without making many follow ups.This is retrogressive and those in authority need to bring change.
Teacher unions have lamentably failed to live up to the expectations of their members. It is no secret that these unions have the largest membership hence being financially sound but there are the weakest in the country. It is not surprising that the power struggles in unions have led to breakups and formation of many irrelevant unions. Teacher unions will never achieve anything tangible for their members as long as disunity continues. Additionally, all unions need to improve in transparency and accountability.
The teaching fraternity has continued to face various challenges in our country though we have recorded success in our education system. It is the sacrifice of these noble men and women who are striving to help the government achieve the millennium development goals under very difficult conditions of service. It is therefore necessary to all of us who value education to embrace the sacrifice and wish all teachers a happy World Teachers Day. For sure to build the future we need to invest in education now and this is only possible if teachers remain committed and motivated to continue doing the nation proud, Happy World Teachers Day.'

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Human Development Report 2009 - Country Fact Sheets - Zambia

Zambia is a peaceful and stable country and thus the scope for development is apparent. Unfortunately Zambia is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the lowest life expectencies for her people. Education will play a vital part in breaking the poverty cycle and bringing a brighter future to the Zambian people.

Human Development Report 2009 - Country Fact Sheets - Zambia

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Statistics | Human Development Reports (HDR) | United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Zambia ranks 164 out of 182 countries on the Human Development Report. Most of those countries that rank worse than Zambia are even war torn or suffering from a legacy of conflict. Zambia on the other hand is a stable and peaceful democracy with enormous scope for development.

Statistics Human Development Reports (HDR) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Adrian's Tour de Zambezi

On the 15th August 2009, I, Adrian Scarlett with several Zambian family members, embarked on a 300 mile sponsored cycle ride across four countries in Southern Africa. We set out from Livingstone in Zambia and then spent the three days cycling through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia before returning to Zambia and cycling back to Livingstone. The trip involved six days of cycling.

The Liverpool Echo featured us, and the charity we founded, the Thembinkosi Foundation, on 3rd July 2009, after I was assaulted whilst training for the Tour de Zambezi. As a result of my injuries my training was interrupted for a month but my strength of character and willingness to succeed in the face of adversity saw me recommence my training regime and ensure that the sponsored cycle ride was done.

I did not cycle alone. I was joined in completing his trip by his brother in law, Fungai Madondo and DJ, a cousin of my beautiful wife Betty. Two of our 15 year old nephews, Nawa and Kaone, also cycled a fair proportion of the challenge and our son, Bongani also joined in the fun. Bongani was a real star cycling up to 15 miles on two of the days in the intense heat!

The cycle ride began at the site of the Victoria Falls. We, the intrepid cyclists, began the Tour de Zambezi by crossing over the Zambezi River and entering into Zimbabwe. Once at Victoria Falls town we were met by two armed Game Wardens who remained with us as we cycled through a Game Park that is heavily populated with elephants, giraffes, zebra and lions! The first day was arduous. The terrain was undulating and the heat of the African sun sapped our energy. The scenery was breathtaking however and after six hours we reached the Kazungula border crossing and entered into Botswana. Our whole party, which also consisted of my wife Betty Scarlett, her sister Constance, brother Jabulani and Auntie Irene, then camped overnight in Kasane.

The following morning saw us venture into the Chobe National Park and cycle to Ngoma and the Namibian border. In normal circumstance cycling is not permitted in Chobe due to the fact that it is densely populated with game. However, the Botswana Wildlife officials granted us a dispensation and allowed us to cycle through the park. Rather worryingly they were unable to provide us with Game Wardens to protect us from the wild animals. As a result only three of us cycled through Chobe. Those of the party under 16 had to ride in the support vehicles. The Chobe leg was in many ways the most exciting especially when we encountered a herd of elephants on the road. Fortunately the elephants were busy going about their business and left us alone!

The third day saw us cycle through Namibia from Ngoma to Katima Mulilo. Thankfully the terrain was flat and there were no wild animals to be avoided. The day was brightened by the reception we received as we passed through many small villages on route. Children cheered us on and some local cyclists joined us for parts of our journey. Once in Katima Mulilo we spent a rest day at a very relaxing camp site!

The next three days of cycling saw us gradually cycle the 150 miles through Zambia back to Livingstone. Again our journey was brightened by the children in the villages. The last day proved to be the most difficult. Fatigue had taken its toll and once again we encountered many hills. We stuck it out though and dug deep into our energy reserves. When cycling through Kazungula district we stopped for drinks in a small village and spent some time chatting and dancing with some of the locals. Eventually on the afternoon of 21st August we arrived back in Livingstone. The final 10 miles were a joy as we approached the Falls to complete our circuit.

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation met us for the final stages of our journey and that night we were featured on the early evening national news. They even interviewed me!

One of the great features of our sponsored ride was the fact that one of the bikes that we took it in turns to ride was made from bamboo. The bamboo is grown and harvested in Zambia and the bikes are assembled by local employees. Zambikes, who lent us the bamboo bike, as well as two other bikes, shares a commitment to sustainable development with the organisation we were cycling on behalf of, the Thembinkosi Foundation.

All the cyclists and supporters who took part in the Tour de Zambezi wore tee shirts sporting the Rotary International logo. One of the most memorable moments during the Tour de Zambezi was when we stopped in Kazungula and spent time with some of the local people who will benefit from the building of a school in their district and from a range of outreach programmes that will see water, sanitation, electricity and better health care for many in the district.

Please support us by supporting us financially in any way you can!

Acc Name: Thembinkosi Foundation
Bank: Barclay bank
Acc # 63226387
Sort Code: 205094

Registered Charity Number: 1128661

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fundrasing Update

We are really busy at the Thembinkosi Foundation. Will, Betty and I are now back at work and Karen is looking after two babies. It makes it difficult for us to devote our time to fundraising on behalf of our charity. However, we have mustered up unprecedented energy levels and we are working tirelessly to raise the money we need to build our school in Zambia.

My recent sponsored cycle through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia has raised about £1500 at this stage but some monies are still outstanding. We're hoping to secure over £2500 by the time all the money is in. Our next big fundraiser is Dave Postletwaite running the Dublin Marathon on the 26th October. Dave can be sponsored at Please be generous!

We are also in the planning stages of organising a Zambian Night for the end of October, three Sportsman's Dinners, the first of which will feature the former Everton and Manchester City manager, Howard Kendall, several Band Nights and a Black Tie evening. More details of these events will follow.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Liverpool - News - Liverpool Local News - Liverpool yobs in car push cyclist off his bike

Liverpool - News - Liverpool Local News - Liverpool yobs in car push cyclist off his bike

While training for my sponsored Tour de Zambezi cycle ride in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia I was assaulted by two men in a car. I was very lucky to escape with cuts and bruises!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Outreach projects focused on orphans and vulnerable children

In Zambia, like many other African countries, there is a long established tradition of the extended family looking after children who have been orphaned. In the vast majority of cases children who have lost both parents are then raised by their uncles and aunts or their grandparents. It is often said that there is no such thing as an orphan in Africa! To a large extent this old adage still rings true today despite the scourge of HIV and Aids, poverty and disease. Despite this many well meaning charities and NGO’s are setting up a plethora of orphanages across the African continent. This of course ensures that in some cases children who may be otherwise abandoned are cared for and looked after. However, unfortunately it may also lead to some families who otherwise may have taken responsibility for the children of their deceased relatives handing them over to the newly established orphanages. As part of our outreach programme we did consider establishing an orphanage as part of the ZIGS project but after conducting research in Zambia and seeking the opinions of local communities we concluded that this concept may not be as positives as it seems at face value. We have thus developed an outreach model that is designed to help the families of those children who have been orphaned.

It is an unfortunate truth that many of the children placed into orphanages by their extended families are victims of poverty. In most cases if finances permitted then the family would take care of the child(ren). In the light of this fact we aim to economically empower families to ensure that orphaned children do not become an economic millstone. As part of our outreach programmes the children from the wider community, whether in full time education or not, will be invited to attend our agricultural outreach scheme. As part of the scheme the children will be taught how to farm efficiently based upon the principles of environmental sustainability and organic farming. It is hoped that the skills that the children will learn and develop will be utilised on their own families land and thus ensure a greater level of self sufficiency. Moreover the children will grow their own crops whilst learning at ZIGS and will be allowed to take food and seeds home with them on a regular basis; after all it will be their hard work that has led to the crops growing! The beauty of this scheme is that the children will learn, develop skills and hopefully enjoy themselves whilst their families benefit in the short term from the food/seeds the children bring home and moreover in the long term due to the skills that the children will acquire and be able to apply on the homestead. We hope that when families recognise the value of the scheme they will want to be more involved and thus sign up for the adult education programmes….

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My recent trip to Zambia

I recently spent two weeks in Zambia over the Easter holidays. The trip was incredibly fruitful and it is certainly true to say that we are a step nearer to fulfilling our dream.

Whilst in Zambia I was priviledged to visit the Kasisi Agricultural College. The agricultural college is part of a wider facility run by the Jesuits which includes a girls secondary school and an orphanage. It truly inspirational place. The agricultural college focuses its attention on organic farming and sustainable development and is a model of what we want to achieve at our school. The main difference being that the college focuses on adult education whereas we will focus upon the education of the young. (although our outreach projects will enable aspects of adult education.) The great news is that the people at Kasisi are willing to provide us with the necessary training and support to ensure that we can emulate their work on the banks of the Zambezi.

I am returning to Zambia in July and I will be spending the entire summer holiday working on developing our school. We are still confident that we can be ready to open in September 2010 but in order to do so we need to step up our fundraising efforts! There are a few 'fires in the oven' at the moment so hopefully ove the coming months we can boost our coffers and then commence building. We will of course be building the school with local materials that are freely available in the locality of the school which will of course minimise the cost of the project. That's the beauty of sustainable development - it makes economic sense as well as environmental sense!

Finally a big thank you to Laura and friends who are climbing Ben Nevis next month in order to rasie funds for the Thembinkosi Foundation and our project to build and sustain a school in Zambia. You can sponsor them in their efforts by visiting our Just Giving page Once again thanks for all your support. It is hugely appreciated!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The effective utilisation of water

Our proximity to the river will also ensure that we have a source of water. The Zambezi is a fresh water river and thus drinking water is readily available. Unfortunately at this time many villagers on the shores of the river have to run the gauntlet of crocodiles and hippopotamus’ in order to collect water. It is our aim at ZIGS to provide drinking water for our neighbours as well as our own community. We envisage the use of a combination of sand dams and sub surface dams both of which can be built using local labour and materials and thus prove to be cost effective. These dams are especially cost effective as once constructed they require very little maintenance and produce a high yield of water.

Furthermore, we will also seek to harvest and store rain water on our campus. Given our proximity to the Zambezi this is a necessity but as part of our model of sustainability we wish to demonstrate that peoples do not have to be dependent on bore holes and/or wells for their water as more than enough rain water falls within Zambia, and across Africa, on an annual basis for peoples to be able to harvest and store water during the rainy season, for use in the dry season. In order to demonstrate the principles of water harvesting in order to be a model for other communities we will roof some of our building with treated corrugated iron sheets. This will allow for a run of f of water that can be channelled into underground covered tanks for use across the year. Most water in this part of the world is lost to evaporation so hence the need for covered tanks. Again this is a relatively low cost method of collecting water as low cost materials are used in the construction of the storage tanks and catchment surfaces.

For more details on water harvesting and storage visit the wateraid website.

For more specific and detailed information on Water Harvesting.

Of course waste disposal will also be a priority at ZIGS. We will seek to recycle water and to utilise grey water in line with the ‘Earthship’ model that is popular within the ‘green community.’ Furthermore, we will seek to use modern eco friendly waste disposal technology in order to preserve our model of sustainability.

All of our buildings at ZIGS will be built from local materials and by local tradesmen. We will ensure that materials that have to be transported by road to our site are keep to an absolute minimum. The area is awash with timber (we will of course plant ten trees for every one we use in building) and stones cover the landscape. Naturally enough these will be the core materials with which we build! Of course we will have to go outside of the community for some materials such as glass but we will seek to minimise the distance that raw materials have to travel in order to reach our site.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Learning outside of the classroom

As much of the building and development of the ZIGS campus will continue after our opening our students will travel of the journey of sustainable development with the teachers and staff of the school. When new classrooms are built, to house our growing numbers of students, we will ensure that the student body are part of the process. All students at ZIGS will gain a depth of knowledge and understanding of sustainable development and conservation from their every day experiences as well as from text books or websites! Learning at ZIGS will certainly not be confined to the classroom…

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sustainable development and renewable energies

Another core feature of ZIGS is our commitment to sustainable development and to living at one with the natural world. From the outset we have planned the building of ZIGS to embrace these principles. The site on which the school is to be built is on the banks of the Zambezi. It is our aim to utilise the water from the river to generate hydro electric power. This method of generating electricity is totally sustainable, clean and renewable. As well as providing power for our own campus we expect to produce a surplus of power which will be partly used to provide local communities with electricity! The use of renewable energy is not only eminently sensible from an environmental perspective it is also economically sustainable and will ensure that ZIGS has no bills for electricity!

A very detailed and technical description of small scale hydroelectricity available by following the link!

Not only will we use hydroelectric power but we will also use solar energy. Solar panels will be used to provide power in the more remote outposts of our campus. Like hydroelectric power solar energy is renewable and green.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Staff Development at ZIGS

As part of our commitment to our agricultural and environmental studies programme every teacher and member of staff at ZIGS will undergo a training programme within their first few weeks at ZIGS to ensure that this aspect of our work is central to our school. We have already established links with the Kasisi Agriculture College, near to Lusaka, and they have promised to train our staff in order to make them au fait with the principles of organic farming, permaculture agriculture and sustainable development. I was privileged to spend a day at the Kasisi Agricultural College and the work they do is awe inspiring. The prospect of working with them is exciting in itself!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Agricultural and Environmental Projects

Organic Farming and eco friendly agricultural projects will be pivotal to our school. Not only will agricultural and environmental studies be part of the curriculum for all students at ZIGS but we will also work with neighbouring schools, villages and communities to ensure that our work has an impact beyond the perimeters of our institution.

All children at ZIGS, from Nursery to Sixth Form will have the opportunity to study agriculture and environmental studies. The will be a core part of our curriculum that will permeate across traditional subject areas. Every class at ZIGS will be assigned a piece of land and challenged to farm. Students will be taught about different methodologies of agriculture in the classroom and have the opportunity to experiment on their own land. The only condition will be that the land is farmed in an organic and eco friendly manner. No fertilisers, GMO seeds or machinery will be permitted. As part of the schools aim to be entirely self sufficient and sustainable students will be challenged to grow, harvest and prepare meals for the whole community on a regular basis.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The wider impact of the Zambezi International School

We will not only educate and empower our own students at ZIS. We will also seek to working partnership with neighbouring community schools and communities. We will seek to establish an out of school hours adult education programme. This will include courses in basic literacy, numeracy and basic financial skills but also agriculture and environmental studies. Local farmers will be taught to explore the wider implications of the use of artificial fertilisers and GMO seeds and encourage to farm in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunset over a Zambian Fishing Village

The extraordinary thing about Ngwanzi village is that the villagers do not have any access to running water. The women and children have the duty of fetching water from the river as and when it is required. This task is not only onerous and backbreaking but is incredibly dangerous. Crocodiles lurk in the water and on the river banks and the simple task of fetching water can be a life threatening pursuit. This may sound over dramatic but only last month one of the elderly villagers in the village  was eaten by a crocodile.

Moreover although the life of a fisherman may look idyllic for a young man it is also a life fraught with danger. A young fisherman, and many of them are very young, will face the perils of life on the river. Hippos, as you may know, are responsible for the deaths of more people than any other animal in Africa (besides humans!) and the hippos lurk in the waters of the Zambezi. Get between a hippo and her young and your life is on the line.

Besides these dangers there is the ever present danger of malaria - Africa's biggest killer. The village lacks any form of health care facility. There is not even a simple clinic.

The people of Ngwanzi village may life a happy life for the most part but there is no doubt that access to running water, basic sanitation, electricity, basic health care and education for their children would dramatically improve their lives. The Thembinksi Foundation hopes to make a difference in the lives of these people. By providing education for children and adults, providing access to running water, basic sanitation and health care we hope to make a difference to children like the one's we met in Ngwanzi.

Monday, March 09, 2009

In search of Chief Sekute and the death of a President

On 19th August 2008 President Levy Mwanawasa passed away. I heard the news of his death in Ngwanzi village which is on the shores of the River Zambezi in the Kazangula District of Zambia.

We had spent a whole day travelling throughout the Kazangula District in search of Chief Sekute. The Chief was travelling from village to village in his Chiefdom visiting his subjects but he had agreed to give us an audience provided that we could find him! We were travelling with two of his nephews, but as our mobile phone signal only worked in certain areas out in the Bush we were finding it very difficult to actually find him.

Eventually, almost as the sun was setting, we found out that the Chief would shortly be arriving in Ngwanze. We made our way to the quaint fishing village and awaited his arrival. Whilst waiting we were shown around by the Headman. The village was a hub of excitement. It was a time of great anticipation awaiting the Chief's arrival. As we waited we heard the Zambian National Anthem being played on a distant radio. At the time this didn't seem unusual but with the benefit of hindsight we realised the significance of this event. Nearby to where we had parked our hired 4x4 vehicle we huddled around a small radio, that barely picked up a signal, and heard the news that the President had died.

People had long speculated over the health of the President and some had quietly speculated that they suspected he would never return to Zambia from his hospital in Paris. Logic dictated that this was a reasonable hypothesis. However, there was always hope. Hope had ended with this radio broadcast though and now all had fallen silent.

Soon Chief Sekute arrived, but to a much different atmosphere to the one of only an hour earlier. Upon his arrival he made his way to the centre of the village to be greeted by the senior villagers. The mood was sombre as Betty and Constance made their way to pass on our condolences to the Chief. We had sort out the Chief in order to discuss the possibility of acquiring land in his Chiefdom but now our trip had taken on a new perspective.

President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa was an honest, decent and humble man who sort the best for his people. He fought corruption in Zambia and upheld the rule of law and the principles of democracy. He is sadly missed by the people of Zambia and by many others in Africa. May he rest in peace.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Monthly Update March 2009

Thank you so much to those of you who have joined our cause or one of our groups on Facebook and for helping us in our project to build and sustain a school in Zambia. Please keep on inviting (and reminding) all your friends to join so that our 'cause' continues to go from strength to strength.

Breaking News: I will be travelling to Zambia during the Easter holidays. During my trip I will be working hard to ensure that we can start building our school in the near future. We have thus far secured a prime piece of land on which to build our school on the banks of the Zambezi and we potentially may have secured additional land on which to develop aspects of our outreach and community projects. We are very grateful to Constance who is working so hard on our behalf in Zambia.

Breaking News: We have been in regular touch with the Charity Commission and fingers crossed we should be a registered charity within the next week or so. Gaining the status of a registered charity will open up several additional channels of funding so the sooner we are offiicially recognised as a charity the better!

Breaking News: You can follow the progress of our project through Twitter

We will be back in touch as soon as we have anymore significant news to report. In the meantime please feel free to utilise our discussion boards, sign our guestbook on our website, add us on twitter and plurk and keep spreading the news about our project by inviting everyone you've ever met to do the same.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Eathship Living and Sustainable Development

As part of our commitment to the principles of sustainable development the Zambezi International Green School will include many of the principles of Earthship Living. Unlike the Earthships shown in the video we will not be using tyres in the building of our school (as waste tyres are not readily available in the African Bush!) but we will be utilising whatever we can recycle in our natural environment. Furthermore, we intend to adopt many of the principles of Earthship Living. We will harvest and recycle our own water, partly from rain water and partly from the nearby river, and we are committed to generating all of our own energy without any recourse to fossil fuels. In fact most of our power will be generated through the use of water with perhaps some solar energy where necessary. The reason for this is primarily that through the effective use of water we can be 86% efficient in generating power compared to the approximate 16% efficiency of solar panels!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Permaculture in Africa

In this video clip Bill Mollison surveys some of the permaculture projects he helped to establish in Africa. The clip features a grade school with a schoolyard garden that produces food for the children's lunches and provides a tool for teaching the techniques to the students, most of whom come from farming families, an African plant guildcompost pile and beekeeping.

It is our aim to emulate these practices and other aspects of permaculture at ZIS. All students will study Agriculture at our school and will be empowered to use sustainable methods of farming in their adult lives. Moreover, ZIS will offer a programme of adult education to the communities with whom we will co-exist. Our students, teachers and all others involved in our projects will work together to experiment and develop 'best practice' in sustainable farming.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rebranding - we're now ZIGS!

We've changed our name! The working title for our school is now the Zambezi International Green School. We've added 'Green' to our name to reflect our commitment to green technology and environmentalism. We think ZIGS has a good ring to it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zambia - economically poor but rich in spirit!

Zambia is the most incredible place. It is peaceful and politically stable. The people are warm and friendly and the country is physically beautiful. However, in terms of economic development the country is desparately poor. Over 80% of the people live on less than £1 a... day, over half the adult population are unemployed, 25% of the population live with HIV and life expectancy (from birth) is only a fraction about 30. (only in Afganistan is life expectancy of a lower age!) In some countries in the so called developing world there is political instabilty and a lack of regard for the rule of law but this is not the case in Zambia. Of course, as with any econimically poor country there are corrupt elements within society, and often monies given through Government departments and even charities/NGO's is squandered, but unlike Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya or Zimbabawe for example, there is a real chance to make a huge difference in Zambia. With well targeted investment Zambia can escape poverty and potentially reach the same levels of economic security as Botswana. The key to Zambia's future is her young people. If they can be well educated and empowered then the future os very bright.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Building a school in Zambia - we've secured land!

Things are moving on apace in Zambia in regard to our project to build and sustain a school. Constance has had several meeting with the Chief and his Headmen and reached an arrangement whereby we will be given 30 hectares of land, on the banks of the Zambezi, on which to build the Zambezi International School. All of us involved in the Thembinkosi Foundation are understandably delighted!

We first approached the Chief about the possibility of acquiring land in his Chiefdom, for the purpose of building a school, in August. Our progress was somewhat hindered by the untimely death of President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa and then by the subsequent Presidential by election but throughout this time remained in regular contact with the Chief . He has been very enthusiastic toward our project ever since we first approached him. He shares our vision of empowering his people and he is convinced that our project will be of great benefit to his subjects.

During our negotiations with the Chief and his Headmen it became increasingly apparent that our project has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of the people within the surrounding district. The land that we have been given is adjacent to a village which has its place on the banks of the river. The villagers live simply - sustaining themselves through fishing and by exchanging their surplus for mealie meal. The village lacks any form of infrastructure and the people are not only some of the poorest in Zambia but are among the poorest in the world. The Headman of the village sees the potential benefits to his people that will come through the building of our school adjacent to the village.

ZIS will of course be a fee paying institution. This is to ensure the financial sustainability of the project. However, part of the raison d’ĂȘtre of our project is the empowerment not only of the students who attend ZIS, but also the empowerment of the community of which we will be a part. In the first instance we have promised the community that we will provide electricity and running water to the villagers and subsequently we will bring the gift of education to the children of the village through our supporting of the building and sustaining of a local village school. Not only will we support the building of the village school but we will also share the facilities of ZIS with our neighbours. Thus as ZIS grows and develops the communities we are working with develop. And this development is multifaceted. The development will be tangible in terms of the infrastructure, water, electricity and roads but will also bring about employment opportunities for the villagers. Furthermore, as part of our commitment to our Outreach Projects our teachers, and older students, at ZIS will work with the children at the village school and beyond.

We envisage being a self sufficient institution within three to five years of opening our doors to our first student. Beyond this stage we would hope that any fundraising will be done with the aim of supporting our outreach projects rather than contributing to the sustaining of the school. By this stage we would also hope to have develop our land in order to have cultivated our land and introduced livestock in order to ensure that ZIS becomes a self sufficient institution. Now that we have land on which to build we are along way to fulfilling our dreams but there is still along way to go. The next stage of the project involves the legal process of the transfer of the land rights from the Chief to ZIS and then the employing surveyors and architects to plan for the physical aspects of the school.

The success of the project to date would not be possible without all the people who have supported us thus far. Everyone who has offered us words of encouragement, kept our project in their prayers, joined our Facebook group or visited our website has kept us going. When we reflect on the scale of the project we have undertaken and the difference that we have the potential to make it can sometimes be overwhelming but knowing that we have so many people who believe in what we are doing is so inspiring.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Monthly Update - January 2009

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2009 brings you great happiness. Thank you for supporting the Thembinkosi Foundation and our project to Build a school in Africa. The project has really taken off over the past few month.... but there is so much more to do....

We have now registered our charity with the Charity Commission and as a result we will shortly be an official charity! We're just waiting on being awarded a 'charity number.' Once we have this status it should give our fundraising a real boost - especially as we'll be able to get tax relief on all donations that we receive!

Meanwhile things have been moving along nicely in Zambia. Constance, the driving force behind the project in Zambia, has had several meetings with the powers that be in the Kazagula District and as a result we have been promised a large piece of land on the banks of the Zambezi.

We would like to contine to spread the gospel about our project and reach over 1000 members of our Facebook group in the next few months. We need your help to do this.....Please would you also invite all your friends to join our Facebook group - it will only take you a few moments to do so. You might also tell your classmates/workmates about this project? Perhaps your school/company might be able to support the Thembinkosi Foundation during 2009?

Please contact any of the group admins if you have any questions about our project or ideas on how to raise funds. We are always delighted to hear from people who share in our passion for empowering young people in Zambia through this project.

We really want to help bring about a real change in Zambia and with your help we can do so...

Thank you so much....