Musical instruments for Zambian kids from an international harpist..

‘A Gift of Music’  by Nicholas Read.  (From the Vancouver Sun 6th February 2012)

Harpist sends instruments to Zambia.  “As you read this there’s a ship bound for AFrica with 126 musical instruments on board…. There are violins, guitars, drums, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, cello’s, a euphonium, recorders, tubas, a double bass and three piano’s….   ..Click to read the full fascinating article

Letter from a Malambo Grassroots Zambia Volunteer

Hi there everyone, Happy New Year !

Thought it about time for a letter – our email has been not working but I am on the farm now on a borrowed computer – luxury! I shall attempt some other email suitable for ROSE publishing – but this is more just to keep touch with you all more personally.

I am at last getting my feet on the ground. Since I arrived the temperature has not gone below 100 – and has been, frequently, a lot higher. I arrived to find John with his rash again- convinced he was being eaten from the inside out by bugs which were laying eggs in him.. I have at last figured out it is not bugs, but what my grandfather used to have – prickly heat – and it can be treated with antihistamines – so I got a prescription from my aunt and he is much better. 5 dips a day in a pool or shower helps too. Siavonga is much hotter than Monze…

It’s been good to be here. I’m a bit split between Monze and Siavonga – the reality of trying to get on our financial feet here in Zambia as well as roll on with our projects. The first part has not happened – so far we just spend money. The second part much easier…

Up early every morning, cappuccino near the pool as we watch the birds and hope for the hippo/croc, and then busy for the rest of the day. We have had a lot of guests, so although we have not left to go to Lusaka for supplies, we are not at all isolated. Every one brings us supplies and our fridges and freezer as a result are loaded.

I have started teaching the woman who works for us (Maureen) how to do rung hooking – with the idea of rugs as an income generating group. She is choosing other women to join with her and she is teaching them. I think I will suggest each woman works individually rather than a cooperative as I have found my papier mache group (works individually) more motivated and problem solving than our cooperative group. Makes sense I guess. She is a good teacher as she is fussy and has been in the community a long time. I still need to get to know more people. So far she has some ladies who don’t speak English – so it works well that she can help me with translations.

I am starting with fabric donated from set dec – so the start up expense is mostly time and designs, not money luckily as we don’t have much. They are proud as punch with what they are doing – nice to see – though they are all rather dubious regarding if things will sell. And although they enjoy doing it – the process – the idea of a hobby of any kind is not around. While the people in the village are intrigued – they also think it a waist of time – so we shall see. This is a very different community from the farm which is used to these ideas. (excuse the rotten spelling) In Monze we have been doing this for a while so women are used to the idea of selling things they make – in Siavonga where there is high unemployment, when I ask what people are doing, I often get the response ‘just sitting’

There is a market day this coming Saturday and I will take up the pieces the women have made and do some market research and then we shall be able to evaluate. I am also experimenting with a paper pulp idea (very low monetary input). As we have this base in Siavonga which is tourist oriented (but no craft industry), and because unemployment is huge, I thought being self employed making and selling things might work well. We have spoken to council regarding a plot suitable for a common craft market – but this is really a far hope. But there are enough hotels around for people to flog their wears. (Please excuse appauling spelling – I am on a dutch computer which corrects my spelling and between that and my atrocious spelling – it all just gets worse.

A kind contact has lent us some large earth moving equipment for 2 weeks with 3 drivers to level the ground and pick up rocks, sand and cement. This has motivated John to expand his project list. It has also resulted in us hiring a lot of people – we have about 16 guys now, and each morning we have a huge crowd at the gate asking for work. It’s hard to say no – I feel bad for them. Such a huge need for jobs. And the people we have now work very hard, come early and leave late. John figured out what he thought minimium should be so people can cover living expenses and education costs for kids and so we pay accordingly. The minimum rate here is not livable – as you probably know.

We are also repairing the walls surrounding the land that got a huge pounding in June July this year. The wind storms were so huge that waves were going right over our neighbor’s house, and their parents, who live further back from the lake, had waves pounding through their house and hitting the back wall of their living room. No one remembers storms this big before. So really our first priority is strengthening the walls around the land. We lost meters and meters to the lake.

We have Heidi coming out mid month next month. So I prepare for that. John and I working on getting all the customs papers for the container she has sent full of musical instruments for the music school – I never want to do this again. A very slow process and painful process.

I have touched base with our 4 income generating groups. Our chicken ladies need to expand – they sell out regularly and the villagers complain that there are not enough eggs. So we have strategized how to do this. We have to wait until August when the next group of chicks will be ready.

The papier mache goes very well as well – total sell out every time – so that too is expanding and we discussed how to do a skills test for an interview. They are also asking for input on designs as a British woman has asked for an order of 45 bowls with butterflies. So I go down later today to work this out with them. A second international order has just come in as well.

The original textile group has had a bit of a rocky time as leadership has been up and down with the effects of AIDs – but they are on treatment now so things improve I hope – though they have a big burden trying to do this while ill, and all of life’s other difficulties. We have quite a few orders for them so things get busy.

We are also reaching our 20th anniversary on the 2 Feb and so will be celebrating with a cooking competition – we discussed the menu yesterday – all traditional dishes and the judges will be 3 Tonga women from outside the community. One who runs a restaurant and is huge fun, one who runs a cultural center and radio station ( I will ask if she can film it as well), and I am hoping my friend from Choma who runs a craft store and works with anthropologists. She has done a number of workshops with these groups so they know her well. We also invite the Dutch ambassador and I will do an exhibition of crafts and photos so they can see the fruit of their donation all these years later– they generously funded our center to be built and cut the ribbon when we opened.

We are also going to train 2 more young women in pattern making and tailoring with a view to broaden and improve the product line for this group. Of the original group, about 14 old ladies remain (many died or retired) and then we have a large number of women in their early 20’s. I wish we had funds for a VSO volunteer who could help us, or a volunteer in design and marketing. I applied last year and they were keen to give us a volunteer but as the global economy has tightened, they now want the indigenous organization to pay the wages which is beyond us. However the work load is large and I still have this ticking over in my mind.

Our last group also thrives. Last year a woman I work with on our Barbie shoots funded a young 19 year old in a year long training in tailoring. She has now completed, and has returned to this group – and their works improves by leaps and bounds – tho she still needs more training. So from this we have decided to send a couple more young women who can perhaps help the original group improve too. This also helps balance that there are few girls being further educated as the schools expel them when they get pregnant. So the drop out rate for girls is high (include the fact that parents support boys more fully than girls for further education)

The scholarship program takes a lot of work. I get the more enjoyable part of it as participants just want to chat to me and let me know how they are doing. It’s fabulous seeing how well they do. Later I will be going tho the book keeping and trying to do a bit of a breakdown on what our graduates from past years are doing now. As I am between Siavonga and Monze I can’t help much this year as I loose all the threads on the applications.

John also takes on projects. He is busy trying to figure out how to get a pump donated and transported here to take water up from the lake to the large village next to us who have very little access to water (I’d think about 3000 plus people). He also is working on a second container to come over in a year, with hospital equipment for Monze hospital, the paraplegic center in Monze and a handicapped center in Mazabuka which my sister and a friend have started building. However his Vancouver rotary contact seems to be backing out after being very enthusiastic to start.

I am getting to know a Zambian Open Community School – just near by in Siavonga. Hopefully we will start supporting what they do too. Plus the child headed house holds school in Monze…So we are busy! All round. Trying to balance how to live here as well as all the projects. Makes things interesting.

Hope you are all well…


Malambo Grassroots website

Rose Charities Canada’s 2nd Project Presentation Forum. Vancouver

The ‘BC Place’ Sadium formed an
impressive backdrop to the meetin

The 2nd Rose Charities Canada Project Presentation Forum held at the Creekside ‘Olympic Village’ Community Centre in Vancouver attracted around 80 persons and represented a spectrum from those with close Rose involvment to those just curious to know more about Rose projects. Food was ‘pot-luck’ which resulted in a groaning table of delicious food and an drinks were available at a small donation bar.

Topics demonstrated the wide range of Rose Charities Canada involvment areas, both geographical as well as sectorial. Sadly, time, and the quantity of projects permitted only short 5 minute presentations, but this tight schedule also allowed a mid period for refreshments and all-important networking .

Rachel Greene (Rose Charities NY)
presents on Social Networking

Special guests were Rachel Greene and Clare Seekins of Rose Charities USA, who presented the work of Rose Charities NY with their digital art program for reservation youth in Idaho, as well as a talk on social media. 

The evening was deemed interesing and enjoyable by all.

Presentations consisted of ..

  • Rose Charities Canada Admin (Maggie Francis, Josephine de Freitas)
  • Rose Charities USA project (Idaho First Nation Youth Project) and Social Networking (Rachel Greene, Clare Seekins – both Rose Charities USA)
  • Mayan Project (Education) (Dr Ellen Coburn)
  • Safe Motherhood Guatamala (Annette Borkent)
  • Malambo Grassroots (Jocelyn Banyard)
  • Rose Charities in Haiti (Linda Warner)
  • Brighter Smiles Uganda (Drea Burbank)
  • Rose Charities Vietnam (Louis Lap Nguyen)
  • Education Generation (Mila Lukic )
  • Rose Charities Cambodia (Dr Will Grut)
  • Volset Uganda (Roger Huyghe)
  • Stand Tall Education Uganda (Nicole Schouela)
  • Hands up for Africa Kenya (Colin Harivel)
  • Rose Madagascar (Dr Emma Noble/Luke King)
  • Rose Sri Lanka (Mike Ramanaden)
Rose Charities Canada’s Louise Aaronson and Pricilla Yogendran
take refreshments between presentation

Zambia: Malambo women win prize!

Good news! The Malambo Women’s Group won the first prize in the Monze district from Zambia’s Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, during a field exhibition. The theme of the exhibition was “sustainability of women empowerment, key to national development.”

The group received 1 million kwacha (about 250 Canadian dollars). They will use the money to buy more fabric.

Congratulations to the Malambo Women!

Keep kids in school !

LET’S KEEP THEM IN SCHOOL…   from Jocelyn (Malambograssroots)

In Praise of Education – we are drumming up funds to add to our scholarship program and I found this comment in the Zambian Economist which directly illustrates the positive impact of keeping kids in school.

“South Korea calculated that the economy grew by 6% for every year added
to education. This means that if we (Zambia) educate every child through grade 12
instead of grade 7 we should add 30% to GDP. Some drastic improvement
in the quality of education would help as well, also in its diversity
(not every child is academically able some have more practical talents)

There would be an immediate increase in employment of teachers and builders and a later increase in colleges required.

people are more likely to challenge or question the nonsense that we
hear every day but not necessarily in a meaningful or productive way.
(Note how many people will complain about the ZESCO increase after the
next bill as opposed to the 46 who bothered to complain before the
increase when it could still have an effect!)

Another thing that
could be done in Zambia to boost the economy is to pay the retirees. We
have a very low retirement age (55) and if people get their benefits the
invest in business or agriculture or something productive. They are
often successful as they have years of experience behind them. The whole
economy would grow as a result. If all retirees had to be paid before
any MP I think it would get done.”

Malambo Grassroots (supported by Rose Charities) – Zambia: an update 2011

Students from Malambu Basic Elementary enjoy donated hula hoops.

2011 update:

An energetic last visit, from October 2010 to April 2011 is past. Working with donations from our salt-of-the-earth sympathizers, and with Stitchting Mwabuka Zambia, we focus on education, community development, and income generation. We …

… started builting two teachers’ houses for our needy local school Malambu Basic, without which the Ministry will not place much-needed teachers.  We need to find additional funds to complete the second house.

…located and found funding to pay two temporary teachers to work in a school that was missing two teachers. The students had been coming to class even though there was no one to instruct.

… donated exercise and text books, pencils, chart paper and other teachers’ aids to two schools. Funded a computer for a school for child-headed households.

… established the kernel of a library — 56 new books and a bookshelf in the Malambo Women’s Centre. Friends joined enthusiastically, clearing out their children’s home shelves, and our local school children devoured them. Needed: a library building and more books, the demand being for science books especially.

… financed a women’s workshop on openly discussing issues that are difficult to talk about, or which people feel must be kept undercover, such as orphan abuse, AIDS, spousal relationships and employer/employee  relationships. (They called the workshop “Not talking the truth”.)

… expanded our chicken business project.

… started a new chicken business project in Mujika village.

… administered funding to support 44 students from Grades 8 to college.

… supported 3 adults in the completion of their education, namely teacher training and tailoring.

… built a toilet for a handicapped woman in Mujika.

…worked with our income generating groups to improve the design of their product lines.

… supported a man to legally secure a land purchase that would ensure a future for his family.

… supported the Malambo Women’s Centre with building repairs and to manage large orders.

… helped various people as requested with fertilizer, leaking roofs, transporting the sick (especially children) to hospital, boarding school supplies, the unexpected birth of twins, and a derelict old beggar.

It was a brisk and spirited six months.

New goals:

Our immediate funding goals are to raise funding for…

…our library.

…teachers housing.  By 2015, the local government school is required to go up to grade 9.  In order to do this, the community, which is very poor, is required to build two houses to government standards, in order to get teacher placements.  This is beyond their ability.  If the school does not achieve this, the students in the school will be placed at the bottom of the list for available spaces for grades 8 and 9 in other schools.

… our scholarship program.

…funds to cover the cost of shipping a container of medical equipment donated to hospitals, and musical instruments donated to a school.

…a vehicle.  Our ancient bread delivery van, which we use to run our programs, is now held together by a lick and a prayer, and is in desparate need of replacement.  We thought we had resolved this when a Delica was given to us, but sadly, it seems the Delica is beyond repair.


Malambo Grassroots oversees a number of projects in southern Zambia, where the BaTonga people live. Our projects assist Zambians as they work toward making a better life for themselves and their families in a drought-stricken part of the country. We focus on income-generating projects, education, community programs, and emergency assistance.

We are a member-project of Rose Charities Canada. Rose Charities Canada is a registered, non-profit organization with the Canada Revenue Agency, registration number: 859442303RR0001.

Egg cosies made by the Lusumpuko group.

Mozart, Medical, Music.. for Malambo.. Zambia..

We’ve been busy the last few weeks finding out about musical instruments and medical equipment! An odd combination! We’re hoping to ship a container to Zambia with these goods in the fall. So far we have a piano!, a baby violin, a guitar, a trumpet, drums, music stands, and lots of music – Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, metronomes, strings, etc – we have promises of 5 new clarinets, another guitar, a drum set, a violin bow, and many CDs….. I’ve hardly started looking yet, so I’m hoping for many more donations once I contact the rest of my colleagues and local music stores.

Through a friend of Emma Noble, Rose Madagascar, we have had two electric OR tables donated, scrubs and linens – all of which we pick up on Thursday. Very exciting!! We’re also going to look into wheelchairs for the Monze spinal cord rehabilitation center as well as other medical supplies for our two hospitals (Monze and Siavonga).

We’ve met with a few people here as well who are looking into the shipping possibilities ~ we are really grateful for their assistance…..and I have a long list of contacts of people who may be able to help!

Last week we attended a fundraiser at a home in West Van that was put on by a woman we met at our Scrabble fundraiser last year. She has a Zimbabwean charity. She hosted a lovely all day event with First Nations crafts, local sculptors, Zimbabwean sculptures and our Malambo Grassroots crafts. It was a great day! We sold many of our crafts and baskets and it was great to introduce Malambo Grassroots and Rose Charities to a new group of people.

Heidi Krutzen .  21’st June 2011
Vancouver. Canada

(Note. From Editor. Heidi Krutzen is one of Canada’s leading harpists.)