Celtic FC Foundation’s Zambia Adventure Begins

AFTER a gruelling 36-hour journey, our Celtic FC Foundation volunteers finally arrived safely in Zambia, on Wednesday evening. Their journey began at 8am on Tuesday morning, as the group left Celtic Park by coach for Heathrow Airport, affording them plenty of time to get to know one another.

The 18 volunteers then set off on an initial flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before travelling on to Lilongwe, Malawi, where they were picked up by bus and transported over the border.

The tired but excited group eventually arrived in Chipata, Zambia where they settled for a well-earned rest ahead of their first day of volunteer work.

Thursday morning saw them head to the Zambia headquarters of Celtic FC Foundation’s partner, Mary’s Meals, where they were provided with information on the organisation’s work within the country, as well as further details on their placements.

The volunteers were split into two working groups and made their way, accompanied by Mary’s Meals staff, to begin working on two different Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres.

Group one: Aaron Coyle, Martin Cummings, Pauline Findlay, Taylor Jobson, John Mullen, Declan Rooney, Eddie Rooney, Phil Rowan and Ken Simpson headed off to Kambwatike Primary School, where they quickly got to work. The group were greeted by a teacher and pupils of the school, who expressed their joy at the arrival of their new friends.

Group two: Mark Cameron (a Trustee of Celtic FC Foundation), Robert Corr, Christopher Deith, Ross Hart, Michael Kinsella, Joanne McGirr, Anne Marie McKinless, Michael Taggart and Amanda Wilson also received the warmest of welcomes, as they arrived at Nyongo Primary School to hundreds of smiling faces.

Through funds raised from Celtic FC Foundation’s #LionsLegacy campaign, the 67 Kitchens project has seen the building of 47 kitchens throughout Malawi, with the final 20 kitchens constructed in Zambia.

Each of the schools which the group will visit during their trip has been equipped with one of these kitchens and this morning (Friday), the two groups had the opportunity to assist with the Mary’s Meals feeding programme at Kambwatike and Nyongo.

The remainder of their day will be spent continuing to renovate the ECD centres at each school, as well as playing games and singing songs with the children.

With the majority of the preliminary work for each project complete, our volunteers will now focus on painting ‘talking walls’, educational aids which will be invaluable in assisting the children’s classroom learning experiences. These include the alphabet, numbers, shapes, animals and days of the week. Each group will also mark their presence at their respective centres by painting a Celtic FC Foundation crest on the classroom walls.

Despite still being very early into their Zambia adventure, an incredible bond has already been formed, not only with each other but also with the children that they have encountered.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the group will enjoy a day off, with the opportunity to take in some of Zambia’s breath-taking wildlife, during a visit to South Luangwa Park.

Following plans for a busy Sunday in the local community, the week ahead will see the group take on another four projects, with work commencing at Kachele Primary School and Kapasa Primary School on Monday, as the volunteers look forward to engaging with two more communities.

All of our volunteers are doing Celtic FC Foundation and the entire Celtic Family proud here in Zambia. To support their efforts you can make a donation HERE.