For over 20 years the charity Project Luangwa has been raising funds through the generosity of the local lodges, and tourists that visit the area to build a brighter future for the children and the communities of the remote Nsefu area of South Luangwa, Zambia.
When you visit Luangwa you get to see the wealth of wildlife and the beauty of the landscape. Your journey from Mfuwe airport out to the lodges gives you a first-hand picture of the colourful daily life of the people of Luangwa Valley, as they walk or ride bikes along the side of the road, chat and greet friends and neighbours, and the small children as they run by and play games. The exotic smells and buzz of the open air fruit and vegetable markets, and small shops, selling everything from cotton shirts to car tires gives you a real flavour of life in the area.
Project Luangwa started out as a way to coordinate the community work that was already being done by safari lodges in the Luangwa Valley. The 5 local safari operators teamed up to manage all the projects they’d set up to support the community – using the charity to plough the funds raised through tourism back to the people in the most efficient way possible. Today Kafunta Safaris, Lion Camp, Flatdogs Camp, Robin Pope Safaris, Croc Valley Camp and Shenton Safaris all work together raising the vital funds to enable Project Luangwa to go into the local communities and help some of its most vulnerable people through the projects and initiatives set up by the lodges.
The charity now helps over 150 secondary students with school fees and provides funding to help train local teachers. The women’s workshop teaches sewing skills and employs local women enabling them to become self-sufficient and care for their families. In addition, the girls’ and boys’ clubs give local kids a place to develop self-esteem and life skills. None of this would be possible without generous funding from the lodges, and the kindness of the guests who stay there – giving local people a chance to fulfil their potential and thrive.
If you are planning a visit to the Luangwa Valley, please ask your lodge about Project Luangwa or visit www.projectluangwa.org. Through your support, many Zambians have had their lives transformed. You can also follow the charity on Facebook www.facebook.com/projectluangwa/ for up to the minute news and stories about what’s happening at Project Luangwa.