Empowering One Child, One Village at a Time
Fountain of life was initially started by Princess Kasune Zulu in 1998 in Luanshya, located in the Copperbelt province of northern Zambia. Princess was orphaned and became head of her household at age 17. Upon learning of her HIV status, she felt compelled to try to make a difference. Her aim was to tackle the cycle of poverty and illiteracy, as she knew that they contributed to the high rates of HIV and AIDS in her country.
Since children were not being educated, she decided to start a small school for a few children in her home. She expected less than 20 children to show interest, but, when she opened her doors for the first day of school, nearly 60 children were waiting for her! These children were orphans or from very poor families, so, hearing the pleas of their guardians, she took all of the children in. On that day, with only US $10 (50,000 Kwacha) to fund the project, Fountain of Life was born!
On each school day in her home-based school, Princess provided basic education and one meal for the children in her care. Soon, the community joined her efforts and helped to support a school. Five years later, Fountain of Life moved to Kitwe, where nearly 1,000 children were supported with school supplies and food programs.
In 2010, Princess felt the call to dream bigger. With 60% of Zambians living in rural areas and a gross lack of governmental funding in social welfare, Princess knew that many of the citizens of her country were going without. The government was investing in cities and the larger NGOs were reaching mostly those in the cities and peri-urban areas. Princess knew that she needed to focus specifically on the plight of children and communities in rural Zambia. She embarked on a campaign to raise US$10,000 for Shampande Primary School, which is located in the Chibombo district, the ancestral home of her father.
It was during this fundraising drive that Princess met Mark Seymour, and a shared vision to co-found Fountain of life in the USA began to form. Mark spent several years in Zambia as a child. At age 4 Mark moved to Zambia with his family where they lived in the suburbs of Lusaka, less than two hours from the communities where Fountain of Life now partners. His mother worked for the United Nations, and his father worked with the government installing new telecommunications infrastructure. His most memorable moments were playing in the bush with village children. As Mark heard Princess’s story and learned about the work she wanted to do, he was compelled to join the effort to give back to Zambia.
Together Princess and Mark established Fountain of Life as an incorporated, nonprofit, US-based charity. Fountain of Life’s first project was completed in July of 2010 with the revitalization of the Shampande School.