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Laura Maree

Buyelekhaya Relief Program

By | News

Buyelekhaya Relief Program – The Girl Impact, Cape Town

Written by Jessica O’Connell, African Impact Volunteer Coordinator

The Girl Impact is a new initiative for The Happy Africa Foundation, and our efforts are flourishing in Cape Town! We are thrilled to be working in a new partnership called Buyelekhaya Community Development. Buyelekhaya is an organization built on the premise of traditional Xhosa dance, as a means to educate children and youth, and to provide a safe outlet and environment. The children and youth in Buyelekhaya live within a squatter camp in Khayelitsha, and fall incredibly vulnerable and at risk to negative influences and realities such as alcohol, drugs, abuse, and gangsterism.

Buyelekhaya runs out of their leader’s home, which is also an informal shack. Vuyo, the leader, is a woman of passion and determination. She alone created Buyelekhaya, and seeks to educate the children about their culture and a positive way of life. She opens her door to any and all youth in her community, and will quite often help provide access to basic facilities and sustenance for any in need. Her voracity to help her community is an unparalleled force, you can’t really grasp it until you meet her. As we have developed our partnership with her, we can see countless opportunities for growth, and to help make her dream a reality.

To begin, we are assisting in providing basic food for the children one day a week, when we run Girl Impact support sessions. Every participant, from six years old to 18 will receive fruit and a peanut butter sandwich. In doing so, we are able to provide immediate relief to the youth, and allow them to focus, while also alleviating some of the financial strain Vuyo has taken on to provide for the children. This is only the beginning of our involvement with Buyelekhaya, and a first step towards helping this amazing organization and group reach their potential.

To help us achieve our goals please donate through Virgin Money Giving or donate through our website.

The Girl Impact, Kilimanjaro

By | The Girl Impact
In Tanzania we are working with partner schools as well as a group of unemployed women to teach vital skills training and mentorship.
Gender equality in Tanzania is relatively advanced, compared to it’s neighbouring countries. However, while there is a higher number of women in school, work and even in politics, women are still hugely under-served in rural communities and face many inequalities in their daily lives.

  • About 14.6% of all women and girls aged between 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation.
  • 41% of girls transition to secondary school education. However, only 3% complete the cycle, mostly due to pregnancy.
  • The percentage of women aged 20-24 who were married before the age of 18 is 38%.
  • Salaries paid to women are on average 63% lower than those paid to men.
  • When women own businesses, they make 2.4 times less profit than men.

In the town of Moshi, at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro, African Impact run education, public health and enterprise projects to target some of these issues, and have more recently developed a gender equality initiative in conjunction with The Girl Impact.

These gender empowerment projects focus primarily on empowering girls through education and skills development initiatives, while engaging all members of the community, including boys.

EDUCATION – We help reduce the barriers to education for girls, enabling them to stay in school for longer and improve their ability to earn a living.

HEALTH – We help educate boys and girls about health risks, prevention and treatment, as well as providing support for those living with health issues such as HIV, AIDs or malaria.

SAFETY – We aim to change attitudes of whole communities on violence against girls and women, as well as providing support to those who have been the victim of violence or do not live in a safe environment.

EARLY PREGNANCY – We provide education to girls, boys and communities which aims to reduce the rates of early pregnancy in young girls, avoid unwanted pregnancy and support girls who are dealing with teenage pregnancy and early parenthood.

INCOME GENERATION – Our program prepares girls to make a living as they get older by discussing their options, teaching skills and supporting their efforts.

SELF-CONFIDENCE – We give girls a platform to value asking questions, be challenged and supported in their opinions as a means of building up girls’ self-esteem and confidence so they can take more responsibility for their future.

As part of The Girl Impact Women’s Group, Wakipa Women’s Group was established in 2015 to provide health, educational and support workshops to 13 women. Over the years, the women grew into an income generating group with an aim to start their own business.

  • 2018: The women identified they would like to start their own events company. Together we created a programme that would assist in the creation of an events company run by the 13 women, as well as an opportunity to train, coach and employ 13 girls in business skills and event management.  As a result of the fundraising efforts in 2018, these 13 women attended a series of event and business management training sessions so they could start their own events company.  For its launch, funds also supported their purchasing of equipment such as chairs, tents, pots and cooking utensils.  At the end of 2018, these women were hosting events for up to 500-600 attendees! It is now Wakipa’s goal to train the additional 13 girls in their community and then employ them in their business.
  • 2019: Fundraising will support the training of these girls, as well as supporting the growth of the Wakipa’s events company.

For more information go to the Girl Impact website

The Girl Impact, Zambia

By | The Girl Impact
In Zambia we are working with over 100 girls, as well as boys and women to create lasting change.
In Zambia, life for a young girl is hard. With over 60% of the population living below the poverty line, it’s no surprise that school dropout usually begins around the age of 13. Teenage pregnancy, menstruation, duties around the home or having to care for younger siblings, often causes girls to abandon their schooling, or fall more than two years behind their expected age grade. With very little support for those girls, it limits their potential and has other far-reaching implications.

  • HIV spreads twice as fast among uneducated girls in Zambia than any country in the world.
  • Women with no education have their first birth 6.2 years earlier than women with secondary education.
  • 1 in 10 Zambian women are married before the age of 15 and 45% are married by the age of 18.
  • About 28% of young females aged 15 to 19 years have begun child bearing.
  • 47% of women in Zambia have experienced physical violence since they turned 15 years old.

These startling statistic, along with many others, founded the need for African Impact’s volunteer programs in Victoria Falls. For many years, the teams on the ground have provided essential education, medical, sports, nutrition and community development initiatives that have benefited local people living in the Victoria Falls area.

Despite these successful programs, no program focused specifically on empowering the smart, young women that the team interacted with each day. Thus, The Girl Impact in Zambia was born.

EDUCATION – We help reduce the barriers to education for girls, enabling them to stay in school for longer and improve their ability to earn a living.

HEALTH – We help educate boys and girls about health risks, prevention and treatment, as well as providing support for those living with health issues such as HIV, AIDs or malaria.

SAFETY – We aim to change attitudes of whole communities on violence against girls and women, as well as providing support to those who have been the victim of violence or do not live in a safe environment.

EARLY PREGNANCY – We provide education to girls, boys and communities which aims to reduce the rates of early pregnancy in young girls, avoid unwanted pregnancy and support girls who are dealing with teenage pregnancy and early parenthood.

INCOME GENERATION – Our program prepares girls to make a living as they get older by discussing their options, teaching skills and supporting their efforts.

SELF-CONFIDENCE – We give girls a platform to value asking questions, be challenged and supported in their opinions as a means of building up girls’ self-esteem and confidence so they can take more responsibility for their future.

African Impact Foundation works with several different communities – known locally as compounds – throughout Livingstone, including Linda, Dambwa, Libuyu and Mwandi to name only a few. The total population of Livingstone is an estimated 136,897 (Census 2010) – however, figures are difficult to accurately measure given the transient nature of the town and the location of surrounding settlements. Livingstone is a tourist town and a border town (borders Zimbabwe) set to the backdrop of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Girl Impact, the Foundation’s gender equality programme, was launched in Livingstone in 2015. From the start of 2015, we have been hosting Girls’ and Boys’ groups as well as our Women’s group under a mango tree, a non-conducive learning space to talk about gender equality and sensitive issues

  • 2017: The idea to build a Community Centre was launched in order to better facilitate workshops and extend our impact past the 200 girls, boys and women we work with.  Our vision for this centre is to create a safe space to have workshops, counselling, activities and support education for girls, boys and parents to bring better opportunities for girls as they grow into young women.
  • 2018: Fundraising was launched where we raised enough money to purchase land for the Community Centre as well as start Phase One of the build. Additional funds raised in 2018 were spent on providing resources and support for the income generation garden, women’s income-generating group, as well as The Girl Impact group sessions for resources and materials.
  • 2019: We will continue to fundraise for the construction of the Community Centre and looking for the right plot of land / building to create our new centre, as well as continue support on our existing Girl Impact programmes.

For more information go to the Girl Impact website

The Girl Impact, Cape Town

By | The Girl Impact
In post-Apartheid South Africa, girls are in real need of support, facing issues with access to education and healthcare and high abuse rates.
In post-Apartheid South Africa, girls are in real need of support. Particularly in Cape Town, issues surrounding access to and staying in education, restricted access to healthcare, high abuse rates and a patriarchal system where men hold primary authority all mean that girls are often left behind.

Buyelekhaya Community Development is a registered non-profit organization (NPO) situated in Khayelitsha. Originally beginning in 2007, and formally registering as an NPO in 2010, Buyelekhaya seeks to work with vulnerable children and youth to learn about their own culture and backgrounds through dance.

The afterschool hours are especially hazardous for these vulnerable children and youth in this area. The group aims to provide the children with a safe environment and teaches values promoting a safe and healthy lifestyle. In creating a positive after school environment and engaging in the positive outlet of dance, the youth are less susceptible to substance abuse and gangsterism, while staying involved in school and working to achieve academic success. Buyelekhaya is an extremely intimate atmosphere to be a part of as the group practices within their leader’s home.

African Impact was first introduced to Buyelekhaya in the second half of 2015, and began meeting with the youth late in 2015.

African Impact’s role is to run aftercare sessions each Friday afternoon as a source of support for the group, helping them to work through any issues they may have with school or at home. Programming is now centring around the pillars of the Girl Impact: education, health, early pregnancy, safety, making a living and confidence in self.

• Just over half of girls in South Africa will leave education before completing Grade 12
• 39% of girls aged 15 – 24 years have given birth, with 28% having never married or lived with the father of the child
• Only 1 third of clinics in South Africa provide contraception options to people seeking contraception aged 13 -19 years
• 45% of girls aged 14 – 24 years describe their first sexual experience as coerced by their male partner

The low standard of living in the surrounding area means parents often don’t have the means to support their children by providing essential items such as food. As African Impact programming continues, this is becoming increasingly apparent. This is evident with the group’s leader feeding the children when she has an occasional surplus of money and hunger affecting the concentration of the children/youth during sessions on a Friday afternoon.

African Impact’s volunteer programs in Cape Town have been working in the township community of Khayelitsha, among others, for many years. While their continuing programming touches on key issues such as early childhood development, health and nutrition, as well as education, they saw a need to provide a more targeted initiative towards their 11 – 18-year-old male and female participants that focused on gender equality.
Their relationships with existing community partners and the children and adolescents in their care soon served as a platform for launching a gender empowerment program, hand in hand with the team at The Girl Impact.

6 PILLARS

EDUCATION – We help reduce the barriers to education for girls, enabling them to stay in school for longer and improve their ability to earn a living.

HEALTH – We help educate boys and girls about health risks, prevention and treatment, as well as providing support for those living with health issues such as HIV, AIDs or malaria.

SAFETY – We aim to change attitudes of whole communities on violence against girls and women, as well as providing support to those who have been the victim of violence or do not live in a safe environment.

EARLY PREGNANCY – We provide education to girls, boys and communities which aims to reduce the rates of early pregnancy in young girls, avoid unwanted pregnancy and support girls who are dealing with teenage pregnancy and early parenthood.

INCOME GENERATION – Our program prepares girls to make a living as they get older by discussing their options, teaching skills and supporting their efforts.

SELF-CONFIDENCE – We give girls a platform to value asking questions, be challenged and supported in their opinions as a means of building up girls’ self-esteem and confidence so they can take more responsibility for their future.

Short term:
Introduce a relief feeding program whereby children receive healthy and fulfilling food once a week, prior to African Impact sessions. This will be at an approximate cost of R250-R300 per week for the whole group.

Long term:
A structure put in place incorporating the following:
• Sourcing of partners who can fund the program / provide food directly to Buyelekhaya
• Integration of income generation activities to make the group more self-sufficient
• Possible creation of a food garden at Buyelekhaya so that they can grow their own food
• Ongoing support of African Impact volunteers in shaping a bright future for the youth where they feel empowered to finish school and seek employment, thus funding their own futures.

Khayelitsha is a partially informal township in Western Cape, South Africa. Located in the Cape Flats area in the City of Cape Town, Khayelitsha means ‘New Home’ in Xhosa. It is noted to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa. Today Khayelitsha has an estimated official population of over 500,000 people but the unofficial number counts just under two million people including informal settlement areas as well. The ethnic makeup of Khayelitsha consists mainly of Black African residents, who predominantly speak Xhosa. Khayelitsha has a very young population with over 40% of residents being under the age of 19. As with other settlement communities, residents in Khayelitsha have limited access to basic utilities such as water, sewage, electricity and health care.

The Girl Impact was established in 2015 to offer gender equality workshops and income generating activities to focus on the gender equality gap across our East and Southern African programmes. Launching in 2015, one of Cape Town’s first partners included working with Buyelekhaya Dance group, a dance group programme which served as an after-school programme to provide a safe space and for genuine connection through the medium of dance. The Foundation provided a feeding scheme for 3 years; however, this came to an end in 2018, as the teenagers had aged out of our programme

  • 2018: We welcomed our new partner, Masibonisane, a women-led initiative and income generating group where we support through health advice, income generation skills and English lessons. Funds spent through the year were used to provide income-generating resources to groups. Finally, through our other partner, GAPA, we host Girls’ and Boys’ Talks which consist of bi-weekly gender equality workshops and a reading club. We fundraised for a mobile library which is used in a structured reading programme every Monday. Students can also check out books to read outside of the classroom.
  • 2019: We will the programme with our new partners to increase our impact and reach.

For more information go to the Girl Impact website

Fundraising Volunteers, Zambia

By | Stories

Written by Zambia Intern Morgan Domijan

Margaux, Hélène and Laura
Before arriving in Livingstone, Zambia, Margaux, Hélène and Laura from Belgium held multiple fundraisers to support The Happy Africa Foundation and African Impact. They stepped out of the box and fundraised through unique projects. But how?

The three hosted their 18th birthday party where all “presents” resulted in donations, sold melo-cakes to family and friends, and had a soccer match between the students and teachers where all proceeds went to sponsoring two children in the Sponsor a Child program. Additionally, they received more donations from reaching out to other organizations and receiving the Young Women in Public Affairs Award.

Wow! Margaux, Hélène and Laura’s dedication demonstrates just a few of the many great fundraising opportunities that are out there. Join their fundraising efforts today!

Dan and Ryan
Dan and Ryan from New York raised an incredible $15,000 before arriving in Livingstone, Zambia to volunteering with African Impact on their building projects. Through sharing their stories by social media and setting up a crowdfunding page, many viewers wanted to make their own impact through donating. Their fundraising efforts will directly affect Linda Farm in building a new Ablution block, completing a playground, and supporting Zambezi Sawmills School.

Due to sharing Happy Africa’s mission before taking off for Livingstone, these two dedicated volunteers impacted three communities!

Meet our New Family in St Lucia

By | News

Written by St Lucia intern, Abby Murphy
In St Lucia, in July, we secured a new family for our Family Empowerment project. Family empowerment consists of identifying vulnerable families within the community we work with, assessing and creating long and short term goals to structure weekly visits.

The Khumalo family were identified by volunteers on our Medical project, they were visiting Khansile the mother of the family on physio and home assistance visits as she suffers from motor neurone disease, meaning she is now wheelchair bound. This disease is extremely rare and there is no known cure or treatment. As a widow her three children take full time care of her leaving little time for their own lives and education.

Sphmandla the oldest son is twenty five years old and working temporary jobs, we hope with regular visits he will continue to come out of his shell. Sanele the second born son is twenty years old and finishing grade twelve at school, he has big dreams for his future and is always a hit with volunteers because of his friendly and helpful nature. Then there is Slindile the last born daughter of sixteen years, she is still in primary school due to starting school late and repeating grades when caring for her mother full time. We hope to spend a lot of time bonding with Slindile, so we are able to fully support her to finish school.

The focus for this family includes:

  • Creating a united family bond, so the family is all working equally together to care for each other.
  • Helping Slinidile with educational support, practicing English and focusing on school work.
  • Assisting Sanele with goal setting, his future career and CV building.
  • Preparing Sphmandla for jobs by creating a CV and helping him to reach out for interviews.
  • Work on home improvements.
  • Visit weekly to collect water and assist the young family with chores so they have more time for school work.
  • Give a clothes and blanket donation.
  • Health check for Khansile.

What we have achieve:

  • Fundraising for a new wheelchair for Khansile
  • Building a garden to grow a more nutritional and consistence food source

We hope with the support of weekly visits we are able to empower them to help themselves to make positive changes. This young family, although having some issues against them, are always full of happiness and joy. Khansile loves to watch volunteers and her children working together to plant vegetables in her garden.

What’s Been Going on in Zanzibar?

By | News

Written by Zanzibar intern, Lauren Lennon

Education and Empowerment (June)
As the end of Ramadan is approaching we are busy getting ready for a new year of Conservation Club in Kizimkazi. Conservation Club is an activity-based lesson for teenagers aged 13-16. We bring the excited students out of class and into their amazing environment where we teach them about the world around them through games and experiments. Each student has to apply to join the club with a short paragraph about their local hero. Our lessons are on every Thursday for two hours and topics range from biodiversity to pollution. Conservation Club has grown in popularity immensely since it started two years ago! We now have an eager 35-40 student attending our lessons every Thursday. Student even complete homework assignments in their own time for the following week. This week I am creating a folder of all activities, games and learning materials previously used in Conservation Club. This will be a valuable source of reference for future lesson plans and will shorten the time spent planning each lesson

Education and Empowerment (July)
A whopping 41 students showed up for our second Conservation Club since Ramadan. Following on from last weeks lesson on animals of Zanzibar, this week we taught them all about invertebrates. We split them into groups and asked them to explore the environment around their school grounds for invertebrates. We then discussed the importance of some invertebrates and how they fit into the food chain. This should lay the foundations for next weeks lesson on the food chain.

Nutrition, Nursery and Health (Aug)
This week we spoke to teachers in all three nursery schools about our porridge program. Currently we give $160 to each school to provide porridge for school children for the entire month. This money allows teachers to buy the ingredients flour, oats, coconut, and sugar from local people and cook them fresh every morning. We want to monitor how well our porridge program is running so we have asked the teachers help us throughout the coming month. It is very important to us to give the children a healthy breakfast so we are always looking for ways to improve.

Nutrition, Nursery and Health (Aug)
As August drew its close, it was time to collect the porridge monitoring sheets from the teachers of our nursery schools. We provide money each month to three local nursery schools so they can make porridge for the school children. We are doing everything we can to ensure the children are getting a nutritious and delicious breakfast every morning. We are always looking for ways to improve and this month the nursery school teachers helped us by noting how often porridge was given to children. This way we can guarantee the porridge will last the entire month. One of the highlights of this week was when I spoke to the nursery school teachers about ingredients, cost and the improvements they would like to see going forward. This is excellent information that will certainly help us refine our nutrition program.

Tour d’Afrique Bike Donation

By | News

Within Livingstone and Kazangula Districts, Zambia, there are very few secondary (Grade 8+) schools. Which means many pupils, have very long distances to walk to school. The head teachers of these schools have told us that the distances that children have to walk are causing a huge problem with performance and attendance. Many pupils only attend 2 or 3 days a week as they stay at home to rest on alternate days and as a result their grades are suffering.
This bicycle donation will be able promote school attendance and give better energy levels to children during the school day.

The donated bicycles are given to the schools and communities, not to individuals to ensure the long term sustainability of the donation. The performance and attendance of the pupils who utilize the bicycles are closely monitored in order to assure the donation is fully and productively used.

DEBS (District Education Board Secretary- Ministry of Education) said this at the donation ceremony…
“We know that the pupils and the schools are hugely appreciative of the bicycles, it is not just a donation but an investment into their future. THANK you, you are all an inspiration to us, keep up the amazing work.
This is the 6th time that we have been honored by the generosity of Tour D’Afrique and its participants.
Of the more than 200 bicycles kindly donated to date, recipients who have benefited are The Ministry of Sports to promote bicycle racing. Home Based Carers who provide health outreach support within the community, Linda Community Farm for the Disabled, and many schools in Livingstone and Kazangula as well.
This year you still made it possible to donate 12 bicycles, a huge thank you goes to the management and riders of Tour d’Afrique for this kind gesture which has such a positive impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.
We have already heard so beautifully from some of the students the impact that these bicycles have is enormous.
I would like to say a huge thank you to the riders and staff of Tour d’Afrique for their kind fundraising and in particular to Graham Whelan.”

Christabel Mushe, 19, past beneficiary: “Allow me to say thank you very much on behalf of the other sponsored children and those who benefited from previous donations of bicycles. These bikes made a very huge difference in my school life and of those of my colleagues who received or rather benefited from this; I used to cover a very long distance from Nakatindi to David Livingstone High School about a 4km walk therefore arrive at school late and tired, to some extent stay home to rest the following day. This really affected my concentration and participation in class as I will be dozing but when I received the bike all this was over and both my performance and attendance improved and also my distance or rather my journey to school was made short. This kind of donations will be able to promote school attendance and give better energy levels to children/ students during the school day.
We are hoping that with this kind gesture the levels of absenteeism which in term results in poor performance will reduce to a lower percentage among us. To the people behind this wonderful gesture please do not get tired of making our dreams come true as pupils as we are the future generation. Once again thank you very much for your support.”

A quote from one the beneficiaries’ parent: “I didn’t have hope that my child will make it to grade 10 this year, but the bicycle that he was given at his school both his attendance and performance improved drastically. Thank you very much for your help”.

Roy Kanga, 60, Libuyu Home Based Care Giver: “This donation came at the right time when we needed it. As a Care Giver I have been able to visit more patients (10-15 patients) on a daily basis than I used to when I had no bicycle as some of the patient’s houses are far apart from each other. We have also been able to transport the patients to the clinics if there is no transport ‘vehicles’ in cases where the patient doesn’t have money to pay for a taxi.”

From all of us at The Happy Africa Foundation, thank you Tour d’Afrique for your continued support.

My Zambian Adventure

By | Stories

In July we had the pleasure of welcoming GlobalGiving staff member Aleia Bucci to Zambia. Aleia spend time with African Impact and ourselves visiting some of our projects in Livingstone. Her is her story about her time with us.

African Impact, an organization that connects volunteers to local projects in Africa, has been around for over 10 years, running projects in 12 different countries and enabling over 12,500 volunteers. The Happy Africa Foundation, established in 2008, exists to manage donations received from the volunteers working on projects for African Impact. The two organizations maintain a close partnership, with Happy Africa funding numerous initiatives and programs where African Impact has projects. African Impact projects are evaluated using a detailed scorecard which includes analyzing long-term viability and impact of the project. Additionally, each project has local community stakeholders, ensuring that the projects are completed in the best interests of those who are benefitting.

In Livingstone, Zambia, African Impact runs multiple projects: teaching assistants, after school activities, reading club, art club, math club, remedial classes, girl impact/empowerment, adult literacy, sports, medical clinics, home-based care, elderly care, health talks, litter picking, and building/construction. As such, there are typically many volunteers cycling through this location. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with the volunteers and staff at African Impact – the hostel I stayed at in Livingstone serves as their base, and I stayed there close to 3 weeks. There is a minimum 2-week commitment for volunteers, but most stay around 4 weeks and some even longer. The volunteers are organized by project coordinators who work tirelessly to ensure the volunteers know where they are going and when as there are morning and afternoon sessions for most projects. The coordinators also ensure the volunteers are prepping for their project visits in advance, deal with any issues that arise, and organize all of the logistics (including meal times, transportation, weekend activities, and curfew). Volunteers can range greatly in age depending on time of year, but since it’s now summer break for many universities, most of the volunteers were on the younger side. They come from all over the world, so it was nice to see so many cultures working together seamlessly.

During my official GlobalGiving site visit, I went to the Zambezi Sawmills Primary School. African Impact has been working here for about 6 years and places volunteer teachers in the classrooms. There are close to 600 kids at this school but only 5 classrooms so most kids are only able to attend school for a few hours per day as they must operate on a staggered schedule to accommodate everyone. Happy Africa has recently renovated an existing classroom block and are raising funds to build additional classroom blocks to help with the overcrowding situation. Zambezi Sawmills is a community school, serving only grades 1-7, and therefore does not receive any government funding. By adding more classroom blocks, the school will be able to accommodate grades 8 and 9 to achieve basic school status and begin to receive government funding. This additional source of funding will help the school become more self-sustainable. Another project helping the school to become self-sustainable is a garden. Here, the students are helping to grow their own food for meals while learning about agriculture in the process. Happy Africa also helped fund a borehole at this school so they now have access to safe water.

There are over 70 languages spoken in Zambia, but only 7 are officially taught in schools across the country. This means that for many, school is not taught in their native language, adding another barrier to learning. African Impact created and implemented a Happy Readers scheme, designed to help kids whose second language is English. The teachers use this scheme during their regular classroom teaching, with the help and support of the volunteers. African Impact also organizes a reading club twice per week to help kids further their reading skills.

During my time in Livingstone, I also went on a project visit to see what it was like to volunteer with African Impact for the day. The project I visited was a girl impact session held at one of the local schools. The organization has an incredibly thorough manual of what to teach at each of these weekly sessions and the topic during my visit was saving money. The volunteers took turns teaching the lessons interspersed with activities for the girls to complete. It was really great to hear them share their thoughts and experiences with money and the amount of giggling during the activities seemed like they were enjoying it as well. At the end of the session, the girls all wrote on a chalkboard what they wanted to save their money for. One of the most eye-opening items for me was a girl who wanted to save enough money to see Victoria Falls. This girl has spent her entire life living 5 minutes from the Falls, but has never been able to see it.

Both African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation are wonderful organizations working incredibly hard to help rural communities throughout Africa. I was very impressed at the level of accountability and systematic structure within both organizations and would encourage anyone who wants to spend time volunteering in Africa to take a look at the wide variety of projects they offer.’

We are in the last stages of fundraising. To help us achieve our goals go to GlobalGiving to donate on donate through our website.

Conservation Club Update

By | News

Written by Zanzibar intern, Lauren Lennon

If you come to Kizimkazi Secondary School every Thursday after school has finished at 2.30pm, you might expect to find empty grounds. You would be mistaken! Instead you will find a troop of teenagers from all over Kizimkazi, waiting excitedly for our weekly Conservation Club. Since its launch just one year ago, it has grown exponentially in popularity in the Kizimkazi community. We now have around 45 eager teenagers attending every lesson. This is a result of the clear desire to learn from the community, combined with the passion and drive of African Impact and Happy Africa staff and local teachers of Kizimakazi Secondary School.

The dedication and curiosity of each student is astounding, as every student must complete a short homework assignment to join. Once a member, they happily offer up their free time to attend our lesson for 2 hours every Thursday and complete homework on their own time for the following week. We strive to pack each lesson with out-of-the-box methods of teaching students about conservation topics.

Every week, we ask students to explore the world around them through a conservation topic such as biodiversity, pollution, deforestation, and energy production to name a few. We hold our lessons outside in the environment we teach about, and use games, activities and experiments to encourage students to ask questions about the most important environmental issues of today.

Last month’s Conservation Club included lessons on sand, erosion, deforestation, global warming, and biodiversity. We used experiments to teach the club members about these topics: For example we showed the students how to make their own sand using a plastic bottle, stones and sea shells and showed them global warming by using the sun to melt ice cubes in a bottle. We showed deforestation using an open-top box filled with sand on one side and sand and roots on the other. When the students poured water into the box, only the sand and roots remained. Together with the students we demonstrated deforestation by giving each student the role of animal, plant or human that depends on trees for their survival. As the students who played humans chopped down more trees, the animals and plants had to find another source of housing or food until there were no trees left. Lastly, we used a fact finding activity to show the diversity of animals in Zanzibar.

At the end of every lesson, all homework is returned and the students who completed the homework from the previous week are rewarded with nutritious biscuits for their hard work. This is one part of the lesson that always goes down a treat! At the end of every semester we take the students on a field trip, thanks to generous donations given to The Happy Africa Foundation.

Last year we brought the club to a local creative conservation project to showcase how students can use their creativity to upcycle different materials into beautiful and useful new pieces. This year we brought them to a locally driven conservation initiative called ZALA Park. Our students had a wonderful time meeting some of Zanzibar’s native animals for the first time, discovering medicinal uses for local grown plants, and visiting the mangroves to plant their own trees. Words can’t describe the excitement these students had for a trip outside the classroom to explore their own environment. Everyone cooked something special for the day, meat, fish, rice, potatoes, and coconut cake – and that was just break time! Each student asked questions, took notes on the animals they saw and collected plants to take home.Last but not least, every student saw how much they can contribute to the protection and conservation of their island for years to come.

Thank you to all those who have donated generously to this very important program. Please continue to support us!