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.
Since its inception, the Bushcamp Company, through Charity Begins at Home, has been committed to ensuring that the community around the South Luangwa has a reason to conserve it. Education is the key to a successful future and with generous donations, teachers’ salaries have been paid and classrooms and staff houses built at three local schools. Access to clean water is also provided, and there is an educational programme that takes school children into the Park on game drives. Through Charity Begins at Home, and with the support of guests and other charities, The Bushcamp Company 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 perform plays for our guests about human-wildlife conflict.
At the Bushcamp Company, our local staff members are our most important asset. Many of them have worked for the company for over 20 years and are trained to be the best that they can be, with help in skills development and responsibilities. Staff of the Bushcamp Company and their families are entitled to assistance with medical costs and there are programmes on HIV and AIDS awareness for all staff.
Most of us take it very much for granted that, with the simple act of turning on a tap, clean, safe water will always be available. But we are the lucky ones: around half of the world’s population lacks this basic necessity and it is estimated that, in Africa alone, over 345 million people are without access to clean water, with more than 3.4 million people dying each year from water-, sanitation-, and hygiene-related causes.
In the Luangwa valley, local communities are growing rapidly in size, and the majority of villagers still have no convenient access to safe, clean water. Through Charity Begins at Home, the Bushcamp Company, in conjunction with generous donors, has embarked on an ambitious task to provide boreholes across the community. This is a project that we consider to be vital to the wellbeing of our local communities, providing tangible benefits to thousands of people.
Some students have to get up at 5 am to walk 15 km to school, do a full day of lessons, and then walk home with nothing to eat. The mental and physical challenges facing the pupils are obvious, as focus, energy levels, and concentration decrease. There is no doubt that correct nutrition is a vital part of children’s development.
We are excited to see that attendance and academic results have increased significantly as a result of providing pupils with a regular meal each day. During the first year of the programme, Mfuwe Day School had the highest number of Grade 12 final exam passes in the District, an increase of 40% in one year!
Over the past few years our primary and secondary sponsorship programme has increased from 100 pupils to over 350. Our intention is to commit to sponsoring students from an early age and, where possible, see them all the way through tertiary education.
We encourage anyone who is interested in assisting to educate a pupil to donate to our Education Fund. Donations are pooled in order to ensure that we have the resources necessary to support a selected pupil throughout his/her schooling, rather the individual or one-to-one sponsoring of individual pupils.
It is very rewarding and motivating for the donor to follow the progress of particular individuals in order to experience what their support means, so we ensure that news of students’ progress is regularly passed on. Donors are also most welcome to visit the local schools and meet students from the Education Fund.
All guests of the Bushcamp Company contribute to the Luangwa Community & Conservation Fund through the nightly conservation and community levy. If however, you would like to get involved in other ways or offer further support, there are many opportunities.