Proud of our past, looking to the future
In pursuit of our aims, The Zambia Society Trust supports a wide range of projects in Zambia. From helping orphans and vulnerable children, to providing bursaries for medical students.
The Zambia Society Trust is a UK-based charity which grew out of the Zambia Society, a friendship group formed in 1968 by people who had previously lived and worked in Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) to maintain the historic links between the two countries. In the early days of the Zambia Society the focus was largely informative and social, and regular meetings and talks were held in London.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980's created large numbers of orphans in Zambia. When parents die, surviving children are traditionally taken into the extended family and become the responsibility of grandparents, uncles or aunts, or older siblings. But this often put a considerable strain on the finances of the receiving family who might already have other dependants, and across the country community and church groups started working together to support these families, by providing a cooked meal every day, or helping to buy school uniforms and other necessities.
The need was very great and the Zambia Society soon became an informal channel through which donations from concerned members could be sent to support these groups. This continued throughout the 1980's but in 1991 the Committee of the Zambia Society decided to put this on a more formal footing and it was agreed that the accumulated funds of the Zambia Society, amounting to £10,000 should be used to establish a charitable trust to help deserving projects in the fields of health and welfare in Zambia, and to advance the education of able but needy young Zambians. The Zambia Society Trust was set up in 1992 with the first grants to projects made in 1993.
These first two awards made in April 1993 were to Harvest Help, an agricultural scheme on Lake Kariba, and to a quadriplegic assistant at St. Frances Hospital. A grant was then made to the hospital when a lorry with medical supplies was stolen. Funds were also provided to ‘Mama’ Lilias Foulkner, an 80-year old lady who had formed an orphanage in North-Western Province.
In 1998 Dr Jessie Ridge provided the Ridge Bursary to help train Zambian doctors and health workers. Over the last five years, the Trust, with the help of its supporters, has raised nearly £200,000 to support its various projects in Zambia.
For many years the two organisations existed side by side, in principle separate but in practice inextricably linked; members of the Society were automatically also members of the Trust, and the Trustees of the charitable trust were also members of the Society's committee. As it became clear that the focus of both was increasingly on the need for fundraising and support for projects in Zambia, it was decided to merge the Society and Trust in order to streamline their management. This took place in 2005 under the name The Zambia Society Trust.