proflightSchoolchildren from Luangwa got the surprise of a lifetime last week when their planned gruelling eight-hour road trip home from a study trip turned into a flight on a fleet of Proflight Zambia aircraft.
The youngsters soared above the clouds on the 25-minute flight, which for many was their first experience of flying and proved a memorable end to a three-day visit to the Lower Zambezi National Park as part of a Conservation Club environmental education programme organised by Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ).
“The pupils and the teachers didn’t know anything about this trip. They thought they were coming back with our truck. This opportunity of jumping on a plane returning to Luangwa has been so wonderful,” said CLZ environmental education manager Besa Kaoma.
“Looking at the way we travel, using our CLZ truck it takes about seven to eight hours moving from Luangwa to CLZ. And sometimes we leave Luangwa at 04:30 hours so that we can arrive during the day. By having this opportunity to fly instead of jumping on a truck it is very wonderful and I actually do not have words other than ‘thank you, to Proflight’,” he added after the flight to Luangwa.
Proflight Zambia stepped up in response to a request from Conservation Lower Zambezi to fly the pupils, their teachers and a CLZ educator who would have taken an eight hour-truck journey to Feira (Luangwa Boma) from CLZ in Lower Zambezi.
Apart from providing the planes, Proflight also arranged for one of its pilots; Zambia’s youngest pilot Kalenga Kamwendo –  to speak to the pupils on the importance of hard work, encouraging them to always dream big because they could achieve anything if they put their mind to it.
Head Teacher for Kaonga Secondary School Mrs Pepual Zulu Chuni, said Proflight’s gesture would motivate more pupils to join the school Conservation Club and, in consequence, make the pupils care for the environment.
“Proflight should continue providing such support because it will motivate these pupils and even those that are not in the Conservation Club to join the club. This will make a difference when those pupils join this club they will also help in protecting the environment, help prevent poaching and help change their mind-set towards wildlife and the environment,” she said.
CLZ’s environmental education programme is aimed at educating and exposing the children living around the park on the importance and the value of wildlife and the environment. The programme also seeks to equip candidates with practical skills and nurture the passion and will to address local and global environmental issues affecting them.
“Proflight remains committed to enhancing domestic tourism and part of that goal involves supporting organisations that are involved in educating upcoming generations on the importance of environmental protection,” explained Proflight Director of Government and Industry Affairs Captain Philip Lemba.
Proflight made available three planes to transport the group back to Feira Airstrip in Luangwa from the Royal Airstrip in the Lower Zambezi.