Fundraiser in Oberhallau
On November 20th, 2011 – the International Day of Children Rights – a fundraising event, organized by the local reformed church congregation, took place in the community hall in Oberhallau. Proceeds from this fundraising event were used to support the Swiss Childrens Hospital in their assistance and care for sick, disabled and terminally ill children across all medical faculties, as well as iChange, which provides children in Zambia with the opportunity to receive an education as well as basic medical care.
The highly motivated volunteers and supporters in Oberhallau provided a wonderful and unique event for many families from throughout the region by operating food stands, selling home-baked goods and other crafts as well as providing all guests with the traditional opportunity to enjoy coffee & cake.
Voluntary Work by Daniel Frei
Back home – back to Zambia. Since my first visit in 2008 this African country has fascinated and excited me ever more. Yes, the days there are usually filled with hard work and one has to forego various daily luxuries and amenities, but I am looking forward to returning to Zambia – my ‘second’ home – each time.
Already on the first day back I realized that compared to my second visit in 2009 many things had changed. For example there was the wooden bridge, which already three years ago could only be passed with quite some effort. Its condition now was worse than ever before. Of course, a bridge might not necessarily be categorized as life essential; yet this particular one is used by more than 700 people on a daily basis as it represents one of the most direct connections from the Hillcrest neighborhood to Ndola city center.
Projects Summer 2011
For the first time since the official founding of iChange it became possible for all members of the iChange board to spend a couple of weeks together in Zambia. In addition, we welcomed seven volunteers from five different nations. These volunteers either initiated new activities of their own or continued projects started earlier in the year by previous volunteers. In addition, they also actively helped with and supported various projects conducted by the iChange team. By means of this article we want to briefly summarize the main events and activities that took place.
During our first weeks we focused on networking and building relationships with various other humanitarian and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are active in Mackenzie, as well as government representatives.
Voluntary Work by Joachim P.
Seven weeks. Seven weeks of being different because the color of my skin is white. To stand out, to be treated differently as a result has been a very new experience in and by itself for me. "Muzungu, Muzungu! How are you? How are you? Hello, my friend!" These are just a couple of the shouts and comments one hears here and there when crossing town on our way to Mackenzie Community.
Mackenzie: To hear or read about poverty is one thing. But to personally experience poverty on a broad scale, every day – that's a very different thing altogether. The community's hopes rest on its children, not only because they are the implicit support for their parents and grandparents once they reach old age.
Voluntary Work by Kelly d. V. & Nari K.
Quite some time before our departure for Zambia the idea crossed our minds to start a new project at Mackenzie Community School – art lessons. In order for such a project to actually work and make sense not only here in our parts and minds of the world, but on location in Zambia, we wanted to ensure that our plans and expectations were as close to reality as possible. Various talks with the iChange team as well as art teachers who already had spent time in Africa helped us prepare for our trip.
As we arrived during the Easter holidays we decided to stay at home with our host family for the first couple of days. During this time we roamed the immediate surroundings of our neighborhood and made ourselves comfortable in the little house that is used to house volunteers.
Exploratory Project in Kapalu
During a visit of iChange team members and volunteers in August of 2010 contact was established to a pastor who provides volunteer support to a remote bush village (Kapalu) outside of Ndola. Somewhat aware of the humanitarian situation in this village as well as the logistical challenges of even gaining access to this area (transportation), the iChange team initially took time to discuss and evaluate the merit of such a visit. One major concern was to avoid raising any unjustified expectations among the population there.
In the end, the decision was made to accept the invitation extended to the team and visit Kapalu. While only 11km east from Ndola city center near the border to Congo, lack of road infrastructure turned the trip to Kapalu into a 25km drive which, given road conditions (or the lack thereof), took almost two hours.
Request for Laptops and other technical Items
Already a number of volunteers are scheduled to visit Zambia this year. For this reason iChange is looking for donations of old laptops to be used for basic computer lessons.
For some years now, iChange volunteers have conducted computer classes with the objective of providing participants with a fundamental knowledge about the use of computers. Among others, many youth from the Mackenzie community have attended these classes, thereby acquiring important skills for today's workplace.
Volunteers are able
to bring old laptops to Zambia, free of customs and duties. Often, these items
are not even counted against a traveler's weight allowance. Therefore, iChange
is soliciting donations of used laptops in workable condition. These machines
do not have to be of current technology or particularly powerful. At the moment
classes are held with a set of laptops that are on average more than 10 years
What's ahead in 2011
After a successful year 2010 we are happy to already now provide you with a brief outlook as to what is planned for 2011. Thanks to the very generous donations which iChange received in 2010 we are excited and hopeful that various more extended projects can be conducted and implemented in 2011.
In particular the interest in volunteer visits to Zambia has risen significantly, although iChange does not support such visits financially. Various young volunteers are already planning visits to Ndola, some of them for longer periods of time. Two of them will arrive in Ndola in Spring of 2011 for a two-month stay. In addition, we already have commitments from five to six volunteers for visits during the summer months
The Year in Review - 2010
iChange is looking back onto a successful and busy year 2010, full of important experiences and insights. After its foundation in 2009, iChange completed its first full operating year in 2010. Many milestones were achieved in 2010; at the same time we used the few setbacks as learning opportunities for future improvement. In particular the successful application for tax exemption, which was granted early in 2010, proved to be a major step. Not only can donations to iChange now be claimed on a donor's Swiss tax return, equally important is the fact that iChange does not have to pay taxes on its revenue and operations.
During the summer
months of 2010 three iChange volunteers traveled to Zambia in order to gain
personal experience on location and help with various projects. Financially,
2010 also proved to be a successful year for iChange; thanks to generous
support from our donors multiple projects were completed during the
aforementioned summer visits. In addition, we were able to already start the
planning phase for various 2011 projects.