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Martin Mannion Zambia Volunteering 2019

Dear Friends,

I would like to tell you about a project I am involved in this summer in Africa and to ask for your support.

Last year I worked with a gentleman who told me a story about the fantastic work he has been doing every year since 2008 in Zambia. His name is Michael Nugent. Since 2008, Michael has worked to help alleviate poverty and suffering in Zambia with the help of volunteers and the support and generosity of many people in Ireland.

Over the years Michael, with friends and volunteers, have built houses with an organisation called ‘Habitat for Humanity’, provided wells with fresh, clean drinking water, provided micro finance loans for widows to bring them out of poverty and supported schools through the provision of books and basic renovation.

It is usual in Zambia that schools have no books and no resources. The poverty is so severe that local children frequently do not attend school, and those who do have little chance to learn. In July 2017, Michael arranged for the delivery of a 40-foot long steel shipping container full of books to Zambia and those books were shared out among the schools. However, many of the Zambian teachers and schools were struggling to work with the books and resources, as they had never really had access to books before.

After that, the demand for books and educational materials was so high that in June 2018, a second shipping container was sent from Dublin to Zambia. The Irish ambassador to Zambia kindly assisted with the import of the container and its passage across borders. In August, Michael and a group of Irish teachers and educational psychologists returned to Zambia and held an enormous teachers’ conference to educate the local teachers in the best methods of making use of the books and materials. Michael, with a new group of Irish teachers and educational psychologists, will travel to Zambia again this summer to continue this work.

So where do I fit in with all of this? Well, this year the aim is to build a purpose-designed library in Chipulukusu, an informal settlement located in Ndola, Zambia. The library has been architect-designed here in Ireland and will be open to all who want to lift themselves out of poverty through literacy and education. As you know, I have quite a broad construction background. When working with Michael last year, he asked me if I would be interested in getting involved in the early stages of project development and costing. After hearing his many stories of the poverty, deprivation and lack of access to education in Zambia, I had no hesitation in answering his request for help. 

My involvement in the library project isn’t confined to plans and spreadsheets on the home sod. I am making the journey to Chipulukusu this summer to help oversee the construction work and most likely take up the hammer again! Let’s hope I still remember which end the business end is!! My flight is booked. I leave on August 1st and return on August 18th.

This is not a trip with comforts. Chipulukusu is a slum which is for the most part without electricity, water supply, sewerage services or refuse services. This is a place where more than one person in 8 is HIV positive and where life expectancy is hovering around 38 years. More than one Zambian in ten is a child orphan. This is one of the world’s poorest and most devastated places, and it is most deserving of our help.

While there, I will live with the locals, in a modest house which is built to the standard of a garden shed in Dublin, that has no running water or electricity or showers or toilets and sleeping under a mosquito net on the floor. There will be torches and candles, and a hot cup of coffee off a charcoal fire in the morning.

Now, it is my turn to ask for help. I am not asking you to travel with me, but I am appealing for funds for this project. The construction of the library is going to cost a lot of money, but I am hoping that we can raise the necessary funds to bring this project from plans and spreadsheets to bricks and mortar. The local currency is kwacha. We have received some preliminary estimates from local builders and the cheapest received is 784,121.30 kwacha. This roughly equates to €60,000.00. This is a huge target but even the smallest of donations will help make the library a reality and improve the lives of so many.

All help and all assistance is very welcome. If you can’t give, but still want to support this cause, please share this page with friends, family and colleagues. If more are people aware of our cause, we’ll be one more step closer to reaching our goal.

For more information, have a look Michael’s website at or give me a call on 086 378 9059. I’d love to answer any questions you have and give you more information.

Thank you in advance for your donation and your support.


Martin Mannion



Brian Reynolds

Well done Martin!


Joe Cas


Steven Howard









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