Our History

Waterberry Lodge founded Tukongote Community Projects in 2009 to improve education opportunities in nearby villages. Supporting a community initiative, we began with 1 preschool teacher in an old mud and pole church building, teaching 20 little ones who could not walk the 10km to the nearest school.

The church collapsed in the 2011 rainy season. 2012 and 2013 were spent in a mud store building at the new church site, with many lessons being held outside.

In 2014, a joint effort between Waterberry and the community saw a mud and pole preschool built on church land. We’d grown to 70 pupils, 3 teachers and an administrator.

Tukongote Community Projects
Tukongote Community Projects

A new beginning

With the long-term vision of providing a primary school, study centre and skills training for the community, a generous personal donation from benefactor, Rob Thompson, allowed for the purchase of land in the village. Ground was broken in October 2016, and on 21 March 2017, the new Tukongote Preschool was opened. Tukongote Primary School started in January 2018.

We now support over 500 children in 3 preschools and 2 primary schools, paying the salaries of 45 teachers and support staff.

Our Benefactors

We are very grateful for the love and support of our benefactors, husband and wife couple, Rob Thompson and Tessa Prior.

Tessa, as co-owner of Waterberry Lodge, has inspired and encouraged us through her wisdom, enthusiasm and positivity right from the beginning in 2009.

Rob watched our progress with interest over the years. Then in 2016 he knew it was time! Time to move from the mud hut, and build “proper” solid classrooms and teachers’ accommodation, to leave a legacy of what, in 20 or 50 years’ time, will be one of the finest schools in Zambia.

And so, thanks to his generous personal donation, land was purchased and a brand new school built, opening in March 2017.

Rob sponsored a young Sophia, who is now our school secretary and librarian, to complete high school and obtain her diploma in Community Development. His own vegetable garden inspired the #robsgardenchallenge, donating towards the set-up of Waterberry Lodge's staff vegetable gardens, and the start of Tukongote's Farming Project. He also sponsors the local village men’s football team, and two children in our Kazungula High Sponsorship program.

Our Directors

Tukongote Community Projects was initially headed up by Directors Michael Voack and Lynette Rink. They birthed the projects in 2009, and continue to lead with passion and vision, empowering and growing our Zambian staff. Michael is also Managing Director of Waterberry Lodge. In January 2022 Charlotte Mpondela was appointed as an additional Director for Tukongote Community Projects.

Our Name

Chosen by the villagers, the name "Tukongote" describes the open billed storks, reflected in our logo, as they fly off together in formation. Their motto, "Together we educate".

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