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Our Trustees

Find out more about our team of devoted trustees

Meet our Trustees

CONTESA has no employees so our dedicated trustees do everything themselves with help from a few brilliant supporters.

Esnat Avon
Chair and Founder Trustee

Esnat was born in Zambia where she grew up at home in the village with her grandparents until the age of 10. Esnat attended Chipempi Girls School (the only girls secondary school in the colonial era). Esnat met and married Roger in Zambia, they have five children and seven grandchildren. Esnat and Roger left Zambia in 1976 and then spent over 20 years in Hong Kong. Esnat returned to live in the UK in 1997 due to the ill health of one of her children. After Roger retired in 2003 Esnat got down to work to try and get her dream of establishing a charity to help some of the huge number of AIDS orphans and then with the added impetus of a small inheritance from her close friend Connie Tatum (who had been a missionary in Angola in the 1950′s) Esnat finally got CONTESA up and running in July 2005. Apart from carrying out all the UK administration Esnat manages all the projects on a daily basis through phones, emails. Esnat has also written a series of childrens books based around the character Bongwe the Baboon, using the stories she was told when growing up. As 25% of the net proceeds of sales go to CONTESA

Dr. Margaret McDermott

Dr. Margaret McDermott retired as a GP in Dorset eight years ago. She has five adult children, two of Afro-Caribbean extraction and eleven wonderful and gorgeous grandchildren. Margaret was born in China and she always had a great interest in the wider world and she greatly enjoyed her spell in Kenya some forty years ago, where her late husband Peter taught and Margaret worked in a mission hospital on the edge of the Rift Valley. Margaret’s late husband also taught in Ghana and much later worked with Tools for Self Reliance, a charity enabling African artisans. Margaret & Peter had always hoped to return to Africa when their children were grown up, to contribute and be part of the positive development of Africa. Margaret met Esnat at church and was inspired by Esnat’s vision for CONTESA and the partnerships that could develop with Zambia, giving her the opportunity to help in a practical, direct and accountable way with children whose needs are so great. Margaret has been to Zambia five times since 2005 to visit CONTESA projects and take CONTESA supporters to see how funds are spent and the great work CONTESA is doing.

Rosemary Stanbury
Founding Trustee

Rosemary trained as an infant teacher but after a few years devoted her life to being a wife and mother. She has supported her husband, John, throughout his life as a Methodist Minister. Originally from Cornwall, they served in seven circuits, including Verwood, where they became close to the McDermott family. Their final circuit was Abingdon, Oxfordshire, where Rosemary has made her retirement home. They have two adult children and two Irish grandchildren. She became involved with CONTESA when Margaret invited her to be part of the September 2006 Trustee visit. It was a life changing experience for her and she has been doing her best with fundraising and spreading the word ever since. Before John died in 2008 he specified that all money donated at his funeral should be used on a CONTESA project. Consequently, her 2009 visit was to open the school block at Kabwe built in his memory. She hopes to have a lifelong involvement with CONTESA and watch the Family Futures School progress.

Dominic Wareham

Hi there my name is Dominic Wareham and back in August 2007 was my first trip out to Zambia to visit the CONTESA supported projects. My first visit in 2007 was also my first ever trip on a plane so if I didn’t like it I couldn’t get off! I however had no problems on the plane I saw all the CONTESA supported projects. I also went to see Victoria Falls and went to Botswana on safari. Following this trip I then decided to make a return trip in April 2009. I revisited the projects and saw how they had progressed. It was great to see how the money raised by CONTESA was being used to change the lives of so many children and disadvantaged people. Every single penny that is donated to CONTESA is spent on Trustee approved projects. I was asked if I would consider joining the board of trustees at the end of 2009 and I was honoured to accept this responsibility. I was formally appointed as a CONTESA trustee in January 2010.


Kathryn is married with two teenage daughters and works in Change Management and Training with large retailers. In July 2010 she visited Zambia for the first time, accompanying her father, a supporter of CONTESA. They met some of the children, including some of the sponsored students, and saw at first hand the difference that CONTESA is making. It didn’t feel enough to support from the comfort of an armchair any more, and Esnat’s invitation to become a trustee provided an opportunity to become more involved.

Jack Avon

Jack was born in Lusaka, Zambia and lives in Surrey UK where he works in IT and Finance as a Financial Modeller. He spends his non professional time with his wife Jenny and three children Luke, Thandiwe, and Nathaniel. Jack has been active in sports in the past playing rugby and hockey and occassionally still dabbles in a game of hockey and enjoys photographing landscapes.

Roger Avon

Roger is a public sector chartered accountant. Roger spent nine years working and living in Zambia (1967-1976) where he met and married Esnat. Roger was Finance Director of the Zambia National Provident Fund. He loved the country, people and gameparks and thought Zambia was a beautiful and wonderful country with great potential, he still does. After leaving Zambia Roger worked briefly in the NHS at Westminster Hospital before spending the rest of his fulltime working career in Hong Kong as an accountant with the HK Government. Roger retired in April 2003 after spending his last ten years of his career as the Director of Finance and Information Technology with the HK Housing Authority. Roger loved his time in HK and has been back each year since his retirement to conduct some short term consulting assignments. Roger has a passion for Africa (and African music and also reggae) and shares Esnat vision for helping orphans in Zambia.

Our Mission

To help alleviate the suffering of (aids) orphans and disadvantaged children in Zambia through the provision of basic shelter, food and primary education and training, regardless of their background, religion or race.

Our Vision

To empower orphans and disadvantaged children in Zambia by providing them with food, education and vocational skills training and where necessary shelter.