History of "Friends of Chitambo"
Friends of Chitambo became an independent organisation in its own right in 2013, but the story starts some years before that:
Founded in 2005, in the wake of the G8 Summit (Gleneagles), Penicuik for Africa (PfA), is a small, Scottish charitable organisation, that aims to make poverty history in specific African communities. Chitambo was PfA’s first and main project and the organisation provided diagnostic equipment and raised funds to buy an ambulance as a centenary gift for the hospital (August 2008, pictured).
The Chitambo community then requested further assistance to re-open the hospital’s nurse training school (NTS) which was closed in 1996 through lack of funding. This request was the dream of one dedicated Zambian nurse, Mr Levison Chifwaila (Levi), who had been Charge Nurse at Chitambo Hospital for a number of years. With a particular interest in rural health care (paediatrics especially), Levi joined with international Friends to lobby for the re-opening of the school. His wish was fully endorsed by the Zambian Government which funded the re-furbishment of existing school buildings in 2010 (see pictures below) and re-opened the nursing school in June 2011.
Zambian Project Co-ordinator, Levi Chifwaila, inspects building work
(Above photos by Paul Vallis)
Keen to further his education, in preparation for a rural Nurse teaching career, Levi undertook a BSc Nursing at the University of Zambia. On graduating, he requested to be posted to the Chitambo School of Nursing once it re-opened. Meantime, he gained Tutoring experience at Kabwe School of Nursing, in Central Province. As soon as the Chitambo school opened, Levi was, to his joy, transferred there. An experienced Principal Tutor had been appointed. New Tutor housing was constructed and an additional classroom administration block have also been built. By 2013 a second student hostel was underway, which will enable the school to double the student intake with positive implications for increased local health workforce. The first student intake took up residence in January 2012. They consisted of 27 Registered Nurse trainees, from all over Zambia (pictured). Scottish organisations PfA and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) worked to assist the Zambian MOH through furnishing the school and contributing to aspects of knowledge exchange in order to support the local tutorial staff.
By 2013, developments had grown so rapidly at Chitambo, with such interest from Friends (old and new) around the world, that it was decided to form Friends of Chitambo as an independent organisation in its own right.
We have now obtained charitable status and a group of Founder Members, in Zambia, Scotland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and elsewhere, is working together on a range of community-driven activities in support of the Chitambo community and to foster global Friendship and exchange.
Friends applied for and obtained full charity status, which is assisting our fundraising potential.
Our primary aims are to support health projects, including the hospital, ambulance and nurse training school. However, we also hope to be able to provide some support to other community oranisations such as the orphanage, schools, and the church, where possible.
We produce a quarterly newsletter outlining our activities and would welcome your support.