After 2 ½ years it was finally possible to visit our FCTrelief project in Zambia! After good flights via Dubai on Emirates airlines, who allowed us to take 105 kilos of luggage, we arrived safely at the newly completed Kenneth Kaunda international airport in Lusaka on Friday afternoon, 29th April. It is named after the first President of Zambia after its independence in 1965, who is still alive at 90, which is really an achievement in Zambia. Eugene, our Head teacher, was there with a welcoming smile to greet us and drive us to the Lodge where we usually stay as it is an ideal distance from the FCT plot in Linda. Another warm welcome awaited us there and it felt like coming home when we saw our room that we have often stayed in.


We left 4 suitcases in the car for the following day as they were full of items and presents that we had collected over the last couple of years and were intended for our staff, pupils and friends in Linda - this time we brought cheese instead of chocolate! After settling in and a good night’s sleep, Eugene picked us up and drove us to Linda where his wife Marian and the girls were delighted to see us and gave us a bunch of flowers! Eugene and Peter, our caretaker, showed us around the plot – buildings and grounds – to inspect the work done these past 2 years and how the plants had grown. It was a long weekend, Monday being a bank holiday, between the 2 weeks’ Spring break, so it was easier to meet up with those students we are now supporting for further education and those who will need our support to study after their excellent Grade 12 exams results. The best 6 should get a government scholarship to study.

Tabea positive

On the morning of our departure, Tabea phoned to say she had tested positive for Covid after being so careful the last 2 years and the following day, Patrick tested positive for malaria! Not ideal timing and we did not see them until a week later – 3 days before we left. Tabea had contacted most of the people we needed to see and arranged various times for them to come to the plot to talk with us. In 12 days we met and talked to over 70 people – staff, the 17 best of our Grade 12 pupils who all know what they would like to study, those students we are helping with their Uni and college courses, those who have completed and are now repaying their study loans, plus other people we have been involved with over the years, who are always pleased to see us. We paid a visit to Doreen, the Head Teacher of the Linda Community school, where some of our pupils go – she has done a great job with this school in the last years – a Power Frau!


Two girls can start their 3-year nursing course in July and are thrilled at this chance! 3 of the boys, who have been with FCTrelief since we started in 2014, had found places to study mechanical engineering in the Copperbelt in the north of Zambia starting in September and can share accommodation – they will need a study loan plus help with living expenses. Now we wait to see about study scholarships and where the other 12 can study. It’s the first time we have so many to help and quite a challenge to “get it right”. Our best student, Misheck, hopes to go to India to study Engineering and Technology.

Important meetings

During the second holiday week, we ran 4 days of workshops plus lunches with all the 85 pupils, including the 12 from George Compound. The teachers had prepared a good programme with the pupils leading various activities – it was excellent. The children love being together and in the afternoons they could chat, play football, netball and other games on our large sports field. One afternoon, all the girls were helped to choose a bra and panties – most had never worn a bra so it was very exciting for them as well as important to learn to choose the right size for the future.


We also distributed nice clothes to those going on to study as well as the 4 suitcases to use for college. They were very grateful. Coming from the Compound, they will now be mixing with more privileged young people so need our help with certain requirements and clothes.

On the second Saturday, we had a youth meeting first and then gave out mattresses and a fitted sheet to those 20 pupils who are now in the second year with us. Again, they were very grateful to receive these. We also gave a new toothbrush to each pupil, which had been kindly donated.



A couple we have known and worked with since 2010 paid us a visit on this day and were very impressed by what they saw.


As they both have good jobs and many contacts, we asked them to help us find places for some of our students who have completed their studies, like Annita who needs to do 3 month practical training to complete her Business course – “Vitamin B” is vital in Zambia!


Here are photos of our students:



All of them thrilled at this chance to study. Those who did their one-year Skills training these past 3 years are all working – either building or dressmaking – and doing well. 2 of the girls have started their own little business and are grateful for the sewing machine we gave them plus a Start-up loan. We met the Swiss couple, now retired, who led the Skills Training foundation in Chikupi for a number of years, who had returned for 2 months to help out again and it was very interesting to talk to them – they are always pleased to have FCT students!

Tomatoes instead of onions

Heiner visited the farm with Patrick and saw the damage done by storms and rain these past few months. We lost a whole onion harvest but the tomato seedlings are nearly ready to put in the prepared ground. The new President has ordered that Zambia must now produce all its own tomatoes and onions – used by most people daily – as there will be no more imports of these from now on. That’s a good sign for our own production.



sum up

It was a short and very people-intense 12 days in Zambia but we achieved and saw a lot, met so many people plus nearly 60 new pupils and are now up-to-date on the what is happening at FCTrelief on the ground and that it is doing well. The staff and pupils are happy, well-fed and making good progress. We look forward to returning at the end of September. Keep up the good work!