The Bulambuli Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development
I have been involved in many community projects over the years and I can honestly say that the B I R D Project is one of the most well organised, coordinated and sustainable, I have come across. The administration is transparent and accountable and the vision is realisable, with some help. Already lives have been changed through the Solar panel scheme. This a scheme whereby a person in the community is given a Solar panel and battery, ( cost around $150 )which will run 4 lights. Without these units people are spending $10 a month on Paraffin lamps, which, because of their toxic fumes, are very detrimental to health and do not give very much light anyway. The Solar Units give more light, are more healthy and solar energy is, of course free. One person expressed another benefit saying, “ With solar light, we can know that we are not sleeping on a snake.” The £2 per month otherwise spent on paraffin, is paid into a community fund and from this, people can then access ‘soft loans’. There are today over 350 units installed in the communities.
The community has not asked for hand-outs. They have largely funded the scheme so far from their own limited resources. The next stage in this programme of sustainable development is to build a school. The community have already chosen the site and obtained the land. They now need to build. They have identified teachers who have committed to 2 years service and will take up their posts as soon as the building allows.
The vision they have is forward looking and well planned. The school will house 350 boarders. Two thirds will be fee paying and this will enable a substantial number of orphans to gain access to education. The national curriculum will run 3 days per week and the remaining 2 days will be skill based training in areas such as tailoring, car mechanics and other crafts, which will equip the young people with the necessary skills so as to make them employable, when they leave school.
All the plans for the school are in place. We estimate a cost of around £15,000. A donation from you of £100, may not change your life style, but it will certainly transform the lives of these young people. I invite you, with me, to support and help this life changing programme. Rev Canon Tony Fensome