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'Evening in Zambia' presents charity's initiative

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 3:17 p.m. MDT

In Zambia, a country where water and education are scare, where the death and unemployment rates are high and the life expectancy and median incomes are among the lowest in the world, the Zambia Scholarship Fund is working to make a difference for children in Africa.

On Nov. 8, board members of the charity as well as U.S. students who have assisted in the charity's programs will host "An Evening in Zambia" in the auditorium of the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, beginning at 7 p.m.

The program will include a slide show of the charity's efforts in Zambia and provide information on how to get involved, including information on how to monetarily and educationally support students and teachers.

Founded by Peggy Rogers in 1999, the charity seeks to help children in Zambia to complete their education by assisting them with funds to complete high school, graduate from a two-year teaching college and then return to remote villages to teach with a paid salary and assistance in the form of supplies, such as books, chalkboards and bicycles — and to trek the often 70-plus-mile, one-way journey to retrieve their paychecks.

"The very first school we started with had never sent a child to high school," Rogers said. "After about two years, they were able to send three children and now they have 17 students in high school. I'm starting to see the results and some positive reinforcement."

Beginning this year, the charity will also assist in teaching technical skills to Zambian high school students, including cooking, sewing, machinery, agriculture, woodworking and herbs for first aid, among others topics. In order to begin this phase of the project, the organization will need volunteers to pay their own travel and other expenses to help teach the technical skills.

Jim Boud, the vice president of the fund, will lead two or three trips over the next year.

"It's really cheap to educate the kids over there," Boud said. "It would be so easy to help them start a little business, like raising chickens or making something different for street vendors, or selling tortillas. It would be fairly easy to get out of the cycle of poverty if they could learn a little skill and start a little business."

The project started after Rogers visited a friend in Zambia and was asked by several women in the community if she could help their children get an education. After returning from the trip she began the charity, which gives 100 percent of donations to the people it serves.

"People want to help in their own way," Rogers said. "Some want to help kids go to high school, some to college, some to get a job, or some to help with micro-loans. There's something for everyone. I think what people like most about it is that they know where their money is going: 100 percent of their money goes to the student."

For more information, call Rogers at 435-279-8900 or visit zambiascholarshipfund.org.

Email: ajones@desnews.com

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