Community

The rapidly growing community around the South Luangwa National Park has to live with wild animals on its doorstep. Sometimes this co-existence is a real challenge and can even be life-threatening. We believe that it is vital for the survival of the Luangwa's wildlife that local people benefit from this wonderful resource and do not suffer through this co-existence. Since its inception Charity Begins at Home has been committed to ensuring that the community around the Park has a reason to conserve it. We feel that education is the key to a successful future and so now provide much-needed help to three local schools. With generous donations we have been able to pay teachers’ salaries, build classrooms and staff houses, provide access to clean water, and take the school children into the Park on game drives. Through Charity Begins at Home and with support from guests and other charities, we also currently sponsor over 350 school children. As well as providing long-term support for the Kakumbi Community Clinic, we also support a local theatre group, which performs plays for our guests about human-wildlife conflict. Charity Begins at Home ties in closely with the Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund (LCCF) in 2009; the Fund helps provide vital funding for many of these community projects.
Student Sponsorship
Although education is free from Grade 1 to Grade 7, many of the families living in the rural communities in and around Mfuwe cannot afford the basic additional requirements of uniform, exercise books, and pencils. There is a very high percentage of orphans in the area who are looked after by their extended family, who often struggle to feed the children, let alone pay for their education. If a child is educated there is a much greater chance of them being employed and being able to support their family in the future. The want for education is overwhelming and everyday application letters for sponsorship are left for Charity begins a home. By Grade 9 many girls have dropped out of school as they are required to help look after the family, do chores in the house, and also they face the challenges of teenage pregnancy and early marriage. If girls could continue their education to Grade 12 there is a much brighter future for them and more of a chance for them to take ownership of their lives and in turn set examples for the next female generation.We feel that education is the key to a successful future, and so as well as supporting three schools in the vicinity of the Park, we also provide sponsorship to pupils from the area. With help from our own 'Charity Begins at Home' fund, The U Foundation, The Sausage Tree Charity, The Dreike Scholarship Fund, Dazzle Africa, the 'Austria Kids' fund, as well as individual guest donations, the 'Charity begins a home Pupil Sponsorship Scheme' is currently responsible for putting more than 350 pupils through 30 different primary and secondary schools in the Eastern Province. We also sponsor a number of students in tertiary education - focusing on trades and skills that can be used to benefit the community - for example teaching, nursing, plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and mechanics. Pupils are monitored on a termly basis and must provide their reports at the end of term.
Chiwawatala Primary School
Chiwawatala Primary School is situated on the main road that connects the National Park with Mfuwe Airport, that cuts through Mfuwe village itself. The school takes around 900 pupils from Grades 1 to 9, being taught by 18 teachers (a ratio of over 50 pupils to 1 teacher) - of these children, more than 400 are orphans. Charity begins a home has supported the school since 1999; initially assisting with the purchase of stationery supplies, but now, with our help, the school offers probably the best facilities of any Basic School in Mfuwe. In 2009 we helped connect them up to mains electricity and in 2011 boreholes were sunk, supplying clean running water to the school. Currently, with the help of guests' generosity we sponsor about 50 children here through school; paying for their uniforms and other school equipment. Our School Fund also pays five teachers' salaries, to supplement the Government-funded teachers. Charity begins a home has also helped with renovating the school: building teachers' houses and recently with the help of the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust and The U Foundation built the Carly Pinder Library, complete with computer room. In 2011 we used some of the LCCF funds to renovate several of their classrooms buildings. To encourage a conservation mindset within the children, the entire school is taken on a game drive once a year. Our generous supporters have also helped provide the school with sports equipment and to equip classrooms. And many guests, with a little space in their luggage, have helped to supply us with small gifts that are used as motivational prizes at an end of term prize-giving awards for hard working pupils.
At the start of 2013 we introduced and funded a chidren's "feeding programme" at Chiwawatala School. This ensures that 900 children receive at least one nutritious meal ever day.
Chilongozi Primary School
Chilongozi Primary School takes around 300 pupils, from Grades 1 to 9, with only by 8 teachers (a ratio of around 37 pupils to 1 teacher) - of these many of the students are orphaned. The school is in the very remote Malama Chiefdom, in the GMA on the other side of the Luangwa River from our location, where human-wildlife conflict is a major issue. As the crow flies Chilongozi School is somewhere in between Chindeni & Bilimungwe Bushcamps - on the eastern side of the River. Since 2000 Charity begins a home has supported the school, giving assistance with the purchasing of the school's stationery supplies, and with the help of guests' generosity we send 6 older children (Grades 10 & 11) each year to High School by paying their school & boarding fees, uniforms etc. Charity begins a home, with support from the The Sausage Tree Charity, also pays three teachers' salaries to supplement the Government-funded teachers and have paid to have a new teacher’s house built and to sink a borehole. We hope to build more houses and a classroom in the future. To encourage a conservation mindset within the children, in 2009 we started what we hope will be an annual event, by taking 100 kids from the school on a game drive and hosted them for lunch.

Mfuwe Day Secondary School
Mfuwe Day Secondary School is situated in the centre of Mfuwe village and is the only Secondary School in the area. Over 1200 pupils attend school in Grades 8 to 12, with pupils coming from all the neighbouring chiefdoms. Many children travel long distances, so approximately 350 pupils board at the school. Initially the Secondary School had almost no classrooms of their own and had to come to an arrangement with the neighbouring primary school to borrow a few of theirs. The school had two main challenges: a lack of building infrastructure and lack of materials. Both of these factors made it a real struggle for teachers to teach effectively, and the school desperately needed support in order to improve the quality of essential local secondary education. A long-term plan for improving the School was necessary, with the emphasis focused on providing the basic needs of classrooms and essential materials and equipment. From 2010 to date Charity begins a home, with the kind support of our guests and dedicated supporters, has made huge improvements to the School, including building 6 classrooms, 4 dormitories, plus renovation of one dormitory (housing 48 pupils per dormitory), and washing facilities. The improvements have already instilled a greater sense of pride in teachers and pupils alike. In addition to this, we are providing the day scholars with a nutritional meal a day which has significantly increased attendance and performance in studies. We also currently sponsor over 100 pupils at the school, focusing in particular on supporting girl pupils who can find completing school to be challenging absent additional support.

Staff Training & Enrichment
Our local staff are our most important asset, many of them have worked for Andy, our co-founder, for over 20 years. We train them to be the best that they can be and encourage them to progress and develop their skills and responsibility. All of our staff and their families are entitled to assistance with school fees through our "Charity Begins at Home" programme, which allows each of our contracted staff to nominate at least one child to attend secondary school. the programme also offers funding to relatives of our employees, allowing them to attend further education. In the future we hope that, by building capacity in our local staff, they will play an increasingly valuable role in the company. Many of our managers and guides have 'risen through the ranks' through the company, starting off as kitchen porters, waiters, store men and even pool attendants; over the years, with help from their fellow employees and through study and hard work and the support of the company they are now some of our most valuable members of staff!
Luangwa Safari Association Medical Fund
The Luangwa Safari Association Medical Fund (LSAMF) was set up to enable a doctor to care for staff and guests in the Luangwa Valley and to spend most of his/her time caring for the rural community of Mfuwe at the Kakumbi Rural Health Clinic. What became the LSAMF was started in 1997 as a response to the lack of emergency medical care in the Valley. The service was originally envisioned to serve just the staff and guests of the lodges on an emergency basis only, but the doctor’s position rapidly evolved to include an active volunteer role at the Clinic in Mfuwe village.The LSAMF was set up under the umbrella of the Luangwa Safari Association (LSA), and is run by a committee and funded by donations from the lodges in the valley and from individual subscribers wishing to have the services of the doctor. Clients seeing the doctor are charged a set fee plus any medications. In the rare circumstance of a critical situation, the doctor will assess the need for a medical evacuation. Doctors come for what is usually a three-month stint in the Valley, Charity begins a home contributes to the Medical Fund and provides accommodation for the doctor.

For more information please contact - projects@charity-begins-at-home.com
HIV and AIDS Awareness
There is no escaping the fact that HIV and AIDS pose a massive threat to the people of Africa, with many premature deaths from HIV and AIDS due to a simple lack of proper nutrition. As an organization Charity begins a home is committed to helping its staff to learn more about this disease and the problems associated with it. We help our staff by ensuring they receive the medical attention they require and provide them with food supplements, we also try and educate them on risk factors, distribute condoms, and ensure that no stigma is present in the work place. One of our senior staff has established the Kakumbi HIV & AIDS Nutritional Support Project and also co-ordinates counselling sessions that teach our staff about the facts. We also help fund SEKA, a local theatre group, that perform plays to the local community (and guests) about HIV and AIDS.
Supporting the Local Economy
As a proud member of the Mfuwe Community, and one of its biggest employers, we feel that we have a responsibility to support local businesses. We support vegetable market-gardens in Mfuwe, buying vegetable and herbs for Charity begins a home locally, as well as buying It's Wild! products, produced in Zambia by COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation); we currently buy It's Wild! honey, peanut butter, rice, mielie-meal and other products whenever possible. With assistance from the U Foundation we helped set up a Cultural Village in Mfuwe, run by Peter Zulu which visitors can visit while staying in the Mfuwe area to learn more about rural Zambian culture. When undertaking new building projects we try and employ local workers, builders and thatchers and pay the local community when using their natural-resources. We also support a local theatre group, SEKA, that perform plays for the local community about HIV and AIDS and about human-wildlife conflict. We also support local sports teams.