Equal access to clean water, health care and basic education for all Zambians
Fountain of Life Africa (FOLA) was initially started by Princess Kasune Zulu in 1998 in Luanshya, located in the Copperbelt province of northern Zambia. Princess was orphaned and became head of her household at age 17. Upon learning of her HIV status, she felt compelled to try to make a difference. Her aim was to tackle the cycle of poverty and illiteracy, as she knew that they contributed to the high rates of HIV and AIDS in her country.
Since children were not being educated, she decided to start a small school for a few children in her home. She expected less than 20 children to show interest, but, when she opened her doors for the first day of school, nearly 60 children were waiting for her! These children were orphans or from very poor families, so, hearing the pleas of their guardians, she took all of the children in. On that day, with only US $10 (50,000 Kwacha) to fund the project, Fountain of Life was born!
On each school day in her home-based school, Princess provided basic education and one meal for the children in her care. Soon, the community joined her efforts and helped to support a school. Five years later, Fountain of Life moved to Kitwe, where nearly 1,000 children were supported with school supplies and food programs.
In 2010, Princess felt the call to dream bigger. With 60% of Zambians living in rural areas and a gross lack of governmental funding in social welfare, Princess knew that many of the citizens of her country were going without. The government was investing in cities and the larger NGOs were reaching mostly those in the cities and peri-urban areas. Princess knew that she needed to focus specifically on the plight of children and communities in rural Zambia. She embarked on a campaign to raise US$50,000 for Shampande Primary School, which is located in the Chibombo district, the ancestral home of her father.
This resulted in the registering of FOL as a US non-profit, co-founding the US entity with Mark Seymour, a corporate technology VP who grew up in Zambia as a young child. With Mark as Executive Director and Chair of the Board, the first FOL funded school block (comprising three classrooms and two offices) was constructed in 2011 at Shampande. The following year a new community school project was undertaken at Mwamuyamba with two buildings constructed in 2013. The needs for a rural maternity clinic has been pressing from day one and after a two year fundraising campaign to raise $200k, a brand new, modern facility was dedicated to the community in May 2016, including the donation of $300k of medical equipment from a partner organization.
During this time, 12 boreholes (water wells with either hand-pumps or solar pumps) have been installed in the communities where Fountain of Life serves.
The next chapter is working with more remote communities in Chitanda district, where access to education and healthcare is even more sparse and over 50% of school age children have no access to any form of education. The community school project at Chabembwa will increase the current student population of 200 (attending just a couple of hours a day) to over 700 children getting a curriculum of education.