The Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre is a community initiative in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, teaching local school children about wildlife and conservation. Whilst visiting, David Shepherd, noted British artist and conservationist said:
"The Government of Zambia and all its peoples will surely thank you ultimately for what you have both achieved. I have been to a number of Education Centres for conservation all over the world in the forty years that I have been involved with wildlife but have NEVER experienced such an example of dedication and inspiration -your Centre is unique and all I can say is congratulations!"
In running the Centre, Steve and Anna Tolan provide a valuable service to the children in helping them understand the importance of the environment and wildlife in the Luangwa Valley. But in addition to the centre they provide financial and logistical support for children of the Mfuwe Secondary School. With a number of projects they are involved in; one way that they help the children is by providing bicycles for them to use. In her own words, Anna says:
“Many of them live along way from the school, sometimes taking them 2 to 3 hours to walk there and the same home again. As the school starts at 7am they are often late, particularly in the rainy season or tired when they arrive. I have so many of them asking me for bicycles that it would be difficult choosing but I would have to do it in consultation with the teachers to find the most deserving case!”
Luangwa Valley schoolgirl Margret with her new bike.Margret’s story.
Margret Nambeye is an orphan, her father died in 1999 and mother died in 2000. Margret then lived with her elderly grandmother who she had to wash, cook and clean for. Sadly the grandmother passed away last year and Margret is now cared for by an Aunt who has several children of her own and nobody is working in the family. Their subsistence crops for the year were destroyed by the floods in February so it will be a tough year for them all. The bike will help the family in all sorts of ways such as collection of firewood and water from the nearby well etc.
www.safaritalk.net and The Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre.
www.safaritalk.net is an internet based African safari forum which focuses on wildlife conservation, habitat preservation and community issues and initiatives, such as Chipembele in Zambia. Having previously donated to Chipembele and personally seen how my money was utilised on the ground, in association with Anna Tolan Safaritalk is jointly launching the “Buy a Bike for Chipembele” campaign with the hope to raise money enough to buy a number of bikes for the children of the Luangwa Valley.
A full donation of seventy U.K pounds, (or equivalent) will be sufficient to supply one child with one bike and a number of spares to ensure its longevity. Donations in part can be combined until the cost of a bike is met, for even a small amount can achieve something: one only has to look at the Safaritalk article entitled “The 25 dollar donation - does it make a difference?” to see how. All donations are made via The Chipembele Trust and details of how to donate can be found at the Chipembele website here: www.chipembele.org/howtodonate.htm. Safaritalk itself takes no role in the donation process. But by launching this appeal it is our hope to raise interest and hopefully generate donations so many bikes can be purchased. Even just funds enough for one will change somebody’s life, perhaps the child’s who needs it so desperately, or even yours knowing how you have helped, and receiving a thankyou letter from that child in Zambia.
Moyo Wisdom and his new bike - it means he no longer walks 15 km to school.Wisdom’s story
Moyo Wisdom, "Wisdom" is 15 and is in Grade 9 at Mfuwe Secondary School. He is an orphan. He lost his mother when he was 6 and his father when he was 10. His father was a retired game scout. He has 2 sisters and 1 brother, all younger than him and at Primary School. They are all cared for by an Uncle who has a child of his own and who isn't working, just subsistence farming. He lives about 15 miles from the school so his Uncle usually brings him on his bike with all his luggage each week where he boards in the boys dormitory and then goes home at the weekends.
Steve and Anna Tolan of the Chipembele Wildlife Education
Centre, Luangwa Valley, Zambia.
Steve and Anna Tolan, formerly Police Officers in England emigrated to Zambia in 1998 in order to establish the Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre. On moving to Zambia they were fortunate enough to be given some land by the late Chief Kakumbi on which to build the Centre, located on the banks of the Luangwa River opposite South Luangwa National Park, approximately 16km south of Mfuwe. They established a charitable trust and used all their personal savings to finance it. They are now running the Centre from their own personal finances and with the help of private donations.
In cooperation with Mfuwe Secondary School’s senior teacher Anna chooses a child who will receive the bicycle, based upon their needs and circumstances. Once that child is chosen they are asked to take responsibility for maintaining the bicycle, giving them a pride of ownership. And should the donor wish so, Anna will arrange for the recipient to send a personal letter thanking them. With his permission, here is the letter I received from Moyo Wisdom.
"Dear Matthew / Liz,
How are you by this moment? Back to me just okey. I can be happy if you are fine with all your family.
The main point of writing this letter is that, I want to thank you for helping me a bicycle which I didn't espect. I was always looking for a means of finding money so that I can buy a bicycle, but unfortunately God has pass by you and buy a bicycle for me.
My village is Chulu, so from my village to school it is approximately 12 kilometer which is a long distance. And I usually face problems during rain seasons cause I always cross rivers (2).
I can say please continue this spirit of helping and may God bless you.
Moyo Wisdom" (sic)
What will your fifty pound donation buy?
Seventy pounds will stretch to purchase a bike and some spares, (2 tyres and 2 tubes, 10 spokes, 10 caps, a front hub) plus get it serviced (checked over, spokes reset and all bolts tightened etc). There is often enough left over to perhaps buy a blanket for use in Mfuwe Secondary School’s dormitory and some pocket money for the bike’s new owner.
How will you benefit?
How often will you have the chance to change someone’s life? Because by donating enough to “Buy a Bike for Chipembele” you will benefit the life of a young child from the South Laungwa Valley. That child will thus be able to get to school easily, will be able to help his / her family, will have a sense of responsibility, looking after their new bicycle. If you wish, you will receive a letter from the child offering you the option to keep in contact with them, via the Mfuwe Secondary School.
And who knows, perhaps one day, that young person for whom you helped might turn out to be a conservationist - Hammerskjoeld Simwinga, from the Zambia grew up in an area where rampant illegal wildlife poaching decimated the wild elephant population and left villagers living in extreme poverty, Simwinga developed innovative sustainable community development programs that protect wildlife by improving the lives of local people: he recently won the 2007 Goldman Environment Prize.
Help a child to become the new Hammerskjoeld Simwinga: Buy a Bike for Chipembele.
How to Donate.
The exchange rates as at end of December 2007 have been less favourable. A Bike now costs 340,000 kwacha (the Zambian dollar) which is approximately 70UK Pounds or $US120 or $AUD150 XE Currency Convertor
*Credit Card Donation: www.justgiving.com/chipembele
*Clicking on this link does not commit you to the donation. Plese send Chipembele an email (link is avalable on the justgiving donations page) to inform them the donation is specifically for the Safaritalk/Chipembele Buy a Bike appeal - Anna Tolan will be back in contact with you to inform you of the selected young person who will be the recipient of your gift.
For more information on alternative ways to donate other than credit card click here:
How to Donate to "Buy a Bike for Chipembele"