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Ben Thomson's Fundraiser:

Christian Brothers Immersion Project in Zambia

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BENEFITING:

Ben Thomson

THE STORY:

What’s the ‘Immersion’ Project all about?

The CBS Zambia Immersion Project was initiated by among others Brother Michael O’Donoghue, former Principal, close friend and associate of our school. In the past you may remember many non-uniform days and other fundraising activities in aid of Brother O’Donoghue’s endeavours in Zambia. These have resulted in many thousands of euro being contributed by the generous pupils, parents and staff of our school here in CBS Kilkenny.

We, a proud CBS school continuing the Christian traditions begun by Blessed Edmund Rice, will undertake the Zambian Immersion Project in 2014. By immersing themselves in Zambian culture and way of life the boys and their teachers, and ultimately our whole school, will learn to appreciate Christian values while at the same time improving the lives of the Zambian people of Murundu in a practical way.

CBS Kilkenny plans to send another group of students and teachers to Zambia in Spring 2014 to witness the work of the Christian Brothers in Mufulira and to bring out much needed funds to them. Fundraising for this very significant immersion project is already well underway.

Uses to which the money has been put to date include:

Edmund Rice Village: 45 houses for the elderly poor of Murundu. Many of the people who are given these houses are grandparents struggling to look after their grandchildren, where the middle generation has been cut out by AIDS.

Houses for Medics in Murundu Clinic: By building comfortable permanent homes for Medical staff next to the Clinic, the Brothers are trying to set up a lasting 24hr medical service for the community.

Feeding Programme for the Poor: 200 destitute families in Murundu are given food once per month by the Brothers. Typically these are elderly people who either live alone or are raising their grandchildren as mentioned above. The package includes basics such as mealie meal (like porridge), sugar, salt, beans, cooking oil and a bar of soap.

The purchase of a second-hand Ford Tractor: Always in high demand, it is available to plough both the horticulture workshop plots and the larger Tipperary plots, as well as being available for other duties such as towing the water tank or other loads, for example bringing bricks from the brick-making site to Edmund Rice village, now almost completed.

Agricultural Project and the Tipperary Plots: In the agriculture workshop, students are trained to take charge of a plot and grow their own vegetables. The Brothers cover the cost of seeds, water, fertiliser, tools and tuition. In addition, the Brothers have converted an extra 60 acres of bush into good farmland, (named "The Tipperary Plots" in honour of generous donations from Thurles CBS) to help agriculture workshop graduates become self-sufficient, profit-making farmers. All this farmland is served by the tractor and its full-time driver, Richard.

The purchase of a Brick-Making Machine: Producing up to 1500 bricks per day, this is an invaluable resource for local development.

Murundu Development Centre: There are 5 workshops here, where locals are taught one of the following trades: Carpentry, Metalwork, Sewing / Embroidery, Agriculture / Horticulture and Building. With the qualification gained after two years' training, graduates are well equipped to find stable employment.

FUNDRAISING
We as a school see the fundraising involved not as a challenge but as a focused opportunity to further develop the Christian spirit that already exists in our school. Fundraising will be viewed as part of the process of the Immersion Project. The involvement of such a wide variety of people in such a varied number of ways will undoubtedly enhance the goodwill and Christian community spirit within our school. There is no upper limit on the amount of money we wish to raise for this project! Other schools in the past have embarked upon bag packing days, design and sale of CBS Christmas cards, calendars, Christmas raffles, charity walks up various mountains etc. followed by food and entertainment – the possibilities are endless.

We have no doubt that we, as a school community, can come up with many novel, worthwhile and enjoyable fundraising activities. It is imperative that we understand that the money we do manage to raise will benefit the people of Zambia but the process of raising it will benefit us as a school community both now and far into the future.

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