Welcome to the story of my exploits in Zambia over the past few years and my hopes for continuing this work into the future.
In 2008, I got the opportunity to travel to Zambia, to work with some of the world’s poorest people and it opened my eyes to a new reality. With a bit of a jolt, I saw for the first time the reality of life and death on our planet and how close we all are to each other and to hunger. A day’s journey in a jet will bring any of us to the edge of the world where deprivation, poverty, hunger and death are daily events.
Having seen poverty once, I have been unable to forget it and to return to living blind in Ireland, not seeing the rest of humanity around us. I decided to personally try in a small way to change things, by devoting some of my time and talent to the people of Zambia. I have been visiting Zambia every year since 2008 and I intend to continue into the future.
I invite you to participate and to support in any way that you can. I am always looking for volunteers to come with me to Africa. I am always looking for financial support. I also need laptop computers, and book shelves, and above all I am always hoping that people will educate themselves and spread the word. Please start here.
What I do
Every year since 2008, I have worked to alleviate poverty and suffering in Zambia. That sounds like an enormous goal given the prevalence of poverty in the world, but my part in the scheme is only to do whatever I can do myself – and with the help of my friends. I started with housing, and then went on the provision of a clean drinking water supply. According as I listened to the people I met, they brought me other ideas, so we have established a micro finance project (Zambian Development Support Foundation) to give small loans to widows seeking to establish a small business. We have supplied books and teaching materials to schools, and ultimately this led to the foundation of the Sister Grace Library, an enormous library of books which are shared out among many schools in Zambia. I have helped to set up computer labs in several schools and even been able to arrange for teacher training in those schools, so that the computers and books have not gone to waste. In 2018 and again in 2019 we held enormous teachers’ conferences to educate the teachers in the best methods of making use of the books and materials we have supplied. Additionally, we have managed to renovate a school with a new roof and windows and doors and toilets. We have also provided instruction in computer skills to teachers, as well as conducting a course in basic business skills and financial literacy for business people. As a new project in 2019, we also got involved in vocational training and trained up and equipped with tools a small group of carpenters. We are continuing all of these ventures in 2020, although with all the difficulties one would expect from the Coronavirus.
Graceland School and Sister Grace Library
My first major partner in Zambia was Graceland School near Ndola, where I started by delivering books and educational material, and which has had a marked effect on the quality of the education the school provides. It was together with Mr Bornwell Daka and Mrs Cathereine Daka of Graceland School that we established the Sister Grace Library, based on the contents of a 40 foot long steel shipping container filled with books . This new library, is now located in many schools, including as far as 812km away in Mongu. In September 2018, our second shipping container full of books was delivered to Zambia and we are now filling a third container at our warehouse in Glasnevin. You can read about Graceland School and the Sister Grace Library in their tabs above, or read the reports of former years.
Zambian Development Support Foundation
The micro-finance enterprise which we call the “Zambian Development Support Foundation” was set up jointly with my good friend, Voster Tembo. Since early 2014, based on starting capital of just a few thousand euro, we have assisted in the foundation and expansion of many start-up businesses. As these businesses have all been successful and are re-paying their loans, we are getting our seed capital back and therefore continuing to fund more business ideas. This project is currently being expanded. You can read some of the ZDSF annual reports by pressing the link on the right.
A new library for Chipulukusu
In 2019, in addition to all other projects, the provision of a public community library in Chipulukusu, which will be accessible to all is our big aim. At present, we are using the steel shipping containers in which the tons of books were delivered to Zambia, as public libraries. However, a steel shipping container is far from ideal, particularly in the heat of an African sun. The books and the container libraries are in great demand, but it is time to take the next step.
Since the arrival of books in Chipulukusu, we have seen the a keen interest interest in reading develop, and great demand for the books. Some people come a considerable distance to read or borrow a book, but we have no comfortable place for them to read. We have supplied books to many schools, but some schools lack a secure roof, or doors, and so are not equipped to hold books. A new library, accessible to all, is the solution. We have the plans drafted. We had secured the site but we discovered in August 2019 that there are problems with the legal title, which are still being sorted out. We still need more money. We have a projected cost of €90,000.00 to build. So far, August 2020, we have raised €54,360.00 of that amount. During our time in Zambia in 2019 we also realised that our planned library was too small. We had planned the library based on the demand for books. What we had not anticipated was the explosion in interest for books, now that they are available. We have had to somewhat increase the floor area of the library to accommodate more people, and so the plans have been revised and adopted to local building regulations by a local Zambian architect. Our revised plan has pushed the cost of the project to close to €90,000.00 so we still need more money so please donate what you can and spread the word to friends. If you know of anyone, or a corporate, who might be able to sponsor this project, send them this way.
If you wish to donate funds or resources to any of the particular projects on this page, please contact me, you can send me a cheque made out to Michael Nugent (Zambia) by post or you can donate by credit card by clicking on the “Donate by Credit Card” link on the right of this page.
If you want to volunteer – send me an email.
Please look around my website and take your time to browse.