A sense of awe and excitement descended over Solwezi on Friday (December 11) as underprivileged children from across the district joined the annual Christmas party organised by First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi Foundation.
The annual tradition, which has become a highlight of the festive calendar, was made extra special this year with the children – many of them orphans – receiving a hand-crafted doll from the mine made by local crafts company Tribal Textiles.
“This year has been a particularly difficulty period for most. The children and communities we support remain at the heart of everything we do, and more than ever before, it is so important that we help them end 2020 on a brighter note,” said Kansanshi Foundation Manager Bruce Lewis.
“They need so much more and deserve so much better,” Mr Lewis said. “For these kids, it means a lot. It is something that gives them something to hope for.”
Mr Lewis thanked the North West Chamber of Commerce for contributing to the five orphanages and called on others to get into the Christmas spirit and share what they have with the less privileged, especially children, this Christmas season.
“While hope is not a tangible gift, you can see it in the eyes and the smiles of the children you will directly impact with a gift this Christmas,” he said.
The Chitenge-clad dolls, named Charity after Tribal Textiles’ Country Director, were hand crafted with locally sourced material using traditional techniques. Some 250 dolls, along with 20 toy lions, were given to the children in a gesture that also means Kansanshi was supporting a local enterprise.
Tribal Textiles works to create sustainable impact through creativity and craftsmanship by reinvesting in community strengthening initiatives, and supporting local wildlife conservation.
Kansanshi Mining General Manager Anthony Mutukuma joined in the celebration with the orphans. While it was his first time attending the annual party as the mine’s General Manager, Mr Mutukuma said the event made him feel at home, and that the joy from the children made the event more memorable and would leave a lasting impression.
“Seeing the beautiful smiles on the children’s faces and watching their eyes light up with excitement was truly magical,” said Mr Mutukuma.
As part of FQM’s community development initiatives, the mine has supported orphanages in and around its operations in Solwezi and Kalumbila for several years, with the party becoming a fixture for the last three years. Each year, FQM donates food, toys and other essential needs.