Rising Fountains Development Prog Weblog

September 19, 2007

Our Volunteer in USA-Sarah Yazinskis

Filed under: Volunteers — rfdp @ 5:35 am

Sarah Yazinskis is our virtual voluteer based in the USA. She is currently in her graduate program at Scranton University studying for her MA in Human Resources. Sarah brings exceptional talent to RFDP as a virtual volunteer working on our news media. Sarah enjoys working with RFDP as she explains :
Volunteering virtually for Rising Fountain Development program has
truly been an eye-opener for me. I look forward to receiving the information to write the monthly articles for the newsletter, seeing all the plans RFDP have for the future (and seeing them implemented), and working on the Annual Report. Even though the position is virtual,I
feel as though I am making an impact. It is a position that is having a
great impact on my life and I hope it is helping them just as much as
it is me. This opportunity is a great growing experience – learning how
to work independently, on my own schedule, and gaining knowledge about
a developing country. I hope to one day make this my profession and I
believe that working for RFDP is a stepping stone to where I want to be
in the future. I will, of course, continue to volunteer even after it has become my career because RFDP will always have a place in my heart.

September 14, 2007

Ketan and Ragini’s 1st week at RFDP – blog 1

Filed under: Volunteers, Zambia — rfdp @ 9:30 am

RFDP crew!Hello all! Welcome to the first of our many blogs whilst working here at Rising Fountains Development Fund!

We arrived here in Lundazi after a 36 hour journey from Nairobi in which we got to experience much of the local life of 3 countries – Kenya, Malawi and finally here in Zambia.  Although 36 hours sounds like a grueling off-putting journey – we can both say that it has definitely been one of the highlights of our trip so far!  We were immediately struck by how welcoming, friendly, caring and kind everyone we met has been.  Despite the language barrier, there is no mistaking for the easy-going, welcoming general psyche that this nation holds; truly a very humbling and overwhelming experience.

This initial experience continued and was magnified in our welcome by Mathias (the Executive Director of RFDP) in Chipata.  It was so nice to be able to put such a friendly face to a name and a voice.  The 3 of us traveled together to this small rural area of Lundazi located in the Eastern Province, where all of the staff of RFDP came to meet us at the bus station and escort us to our new home.  The happiness and warmth that exuded from everyone we met was definitely a feeling that not only erased any nerves and apprehension we had, but already made us feel part of this group that we will be with for the next 7 weeks.

The group escorted us to our house.  We had no idea what to expect and were just looking forward to not having to live out of our backpacks for a while!  When we arrived home it completely exceeded our expectations – it has 3 large bedrooms, 2 living areas, bathroom, kitchen and outdoor areas in the front and the back!  The icing on the cake was watching the sun setting over the maize fields from our porch! (Sunsets here are incredible compared to back home in cloudy, rainy and grey England!).  Oh yeah, and we have a maid and a night watchman!!! Definitely something we can get used to, so we felt very safe and looked after!

The following day we were to have a morning briefing at our house with all of the staff of RFDP.  Admittedly we were a little nervous as we were unsure if we would be able to fulfill their expectations.  However, as the meeting went on it became apparent that the expectations for us seemed to be in line with what we hoped to gain from this experience; work in a different culture and life to what we know, be able to use our skills and knowledge to help the organisation to grow and to learn from others and grow within ourselves.

After the meeting, Mathias and the others all expressed their wish for us to relax on our first day and settle in.  As part of this, Melina and Rosie (our maid) took us on a tour of the Lundazi area – namely the market! On hindsight, we are so grateful that they took the time out to do this, as we now realise that we would not know where would be best to go, or what sort of prices to expect!  So we came back home very happy having bought some of the local produce and practiced some Tumbuka!

Wednesday was our first full day in the office.  So as a formality and custom Mathias took us to meet and introduce ourselves to various key members of the community that we would be working with.  They included the Head of the Thandizani organisation (who are linked to RFDP), the office landlord and the Chief of the Kazembe Chiefdom. 

RFDP have many very important projects running, and it is to their credit, that despite a severe lack of funds and resources they are constantly initiating new projects to improve the livelihoods of people in the community.  The project proposal we worked on aimed to help grandmothers who have lost their own children through HIV/AIDS and are left to look after their grandchildren, many of whom also have HIV/AIDS or are vulnerable in other ways.  The more we read about the aims of the project, the more we saw the many positive benefits such a project could hold.  Its primary aim is to train these grandmothers in skills that would enable them to earn an income, and therefore provide for themselves and their families and in the long run hopefully ensure for better opportunities for their grandchildren.  So many organiations seem to focus on the short term, i.e. provided food and resources where it is needed, seeing that RFDP are aiming for a more long term and sustainable approach is quite inspiring.

The rest of our weeks here are planned out to include trips to the valley where many of the project’s target groups are based, begin the assessment and coordination of the water and sanitation project, continue working with youths to generate an awareness of HIV/AIDS, conduct focus groups, identify fundraising opportunities and orgainse events for the Independence Day celebrations in October!

A busy and intense schedule, but one that will hopefully bring us many invaluable experiences!  

Working for Rising Fountain Development Program

Filed under: Volunteers — rfdp @ 3:46 am

Hello everyone! My name is Mathias Zimba and Im the Director for Rising Fountain Development Program, a locally based project working in the rural areas of Zambia.

I would like to dedicate this blog to all our wonderful volunteers who share their time, passion and commitment in what we do.

This volunteer blog will be used for exclusively for volunteers who are working directly or indirectly with RFDP.

Currently we have Sarah (USA)  who is our Writer, we also have Belinda (France) , our Website Development Volunteer  and now we have our first volunteer on the ground in Zambia Katein and Ragina from the UK.

On behalf of the entire team at Rising Fountain Development Program, we welcome you to join us on our Volunteer Blog and share your experiences and thoughts about Rising Fountain Development Program. We want to hear from you, learn from you and share the information for any future volunteers.

“Mwaisenipo mukwaii” (welcome!)

September 12, 2007

Volunteer’s Blog

Filed under: Africa, AIDS, Education, Volunteers, Zambia — rfdp @ 10:31 pm

The Rising Fountains Development Programme is a non-profit organisation set up to help empower the rural communities (Children, Youths, Women and Men) in their social economic development in the Lundazi District of the Eastern province of Zambia. Program area of focus: HIV/AIDS, Agriculture, Education, Orphans and vulnerable children, water and sanitation, livelihoods and partnership development.

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