Help for Orphans
Amongst a population of over 14.5 million, there are over 1.1 million orphans in Zambia, around eight per cent of the entire population.
Most of the parents have died from HIV/AIDS, but the vast majority of the surviving children are not HIV infected. Many of these children are able to find homes with relatives or friends but this places additional financial strain on those families, who often have children of their own to support.
The Trust gives priority to assisting orphans living in the community to attend primary schools and to receive one nutritious meal a day, when over-burdened families may have difficulty in providing this.
It is hoped that more funds can be raised for these projects because it is so hard for families living below the poverty line on $1.25 a day to adequately support the orphaned children they accept, in addition to their own children.
Projects assisted by The Zambia Society Trust
Chitsime Association, St Lawrence, Misisi Township, Lusaka
This is a community based project assisted by the Catholic parish of Kabwata. It comprises St Lawrence School, St Lawrence Home of Hope, Special Needs School, Home-Based Care Programme, and a Computer Centre.
Over 1,150 pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 9 are provided with free education and the performance of pupils in the Grade 7 and 9 exams is steadily improving. The teachers are now on the government payroll and Trust funds are used to improve the facilities. Recent improvements include rehabilitating the school toilets and showers for disabled children, repairing school desks and library furniture, providing learning materials and book purchases.
The Home of Hope Centre provides accommodation for 50 boys ranging in age from 8 to 14 years. Some boys come into care through the work of the outreach team which find them on the streets of Lusaka, while others are referrals from social welfare and the Police. Some boys attend St Lawrence School but the aim of the centre is to reintegrate the boys with their families. Although about five new boys come to the Home every month since October 2014, more than 40 boys have been reintegrated. A lot of emphasis is placed on the psychological needs of the boys and their families. More care givers are now working with the team including two religious Sisters working as the administrative coordinator and a professional counsellor running individual and group sessions with the boys.
In 2014 their living conditions have been improved. The wooden bunk beds were replaced by solid and strong “triple-deckers” that will last for many years. The dining area was also revamped with new tables and chairs. Funds from the Trust have been used to upgrade the ablution block, assist with the cost of transport involved in tracing boys’ families and reintegrating them, and meeting medical costs for some of the boys. The Special Needs School provides day tuition to 60 pupils with varying disabilities.
The Computer Centre is well used by Grade 8 and 9 pupils and members of the local community.
The Home-Based Care Programme is very active and volunteer counsellors provide support to disadvantaged families in the adjacent Misisi Township.
The association runs projects such as cement block-making, maize milling and car parking to generate some income and provide experience for the boys.
Mpunde Mission, Kabwe
Mpunde Mission is a Catholic centre where there are basic and secondary schools. Funds are used to pay school fees for orphans. So far 558 children ranging from grades 3 to 11 have benefited from the project. The poorest are provided with the basics they need to attend school. Some 166 school uniforms were provided to the boys and girls of the Mpunde mission, with 150 children also receiving blankets.
St Francis’ Hospital, Katete
This general hospital in the Eastern Province, administered jointly by the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Zambia, has an AIDS team responsible for health education, a community-based home care system and an orphan support programme. Two thousand orphaned children are helped in a variety of ways, including the payment of their primary school (£15 per annum) or secondary school expenses (£75 per annum). In addition, the hospital also provides clothes (some made by older orphans), a blanket, maize seed and a hoe blade to each child.
St Mary's, Matero, Lusaka
This Ana Anasiya (meaning ‘the children left behind’) project is at the Catholic Parish in Matero, a densely populated township. About 70 orphans and other vulnerable children receive a nutritious lunch each day and other basic essentials.
Kwasha Mukwenu (“Help a friend in need”)
The project, which is run by the Kwasha Mukwenu Ladies Group with the support of two volunteer teachers, provides care and education for approximately 250 vulnerable children. They teach children in Grades 1 to 7, run revision and homework classes, and give help with school fees and uniforms to children they support in government schools. They cook lunch for about fifty children each day when funds are available. The Trust is the main financial donor to this project, and the ladies generate additional, much needed funds by working as cleaners in the local brewery and by making tie and dye cloth and other items for sale in the local market.
This project has been running for several years, and there are now many heartwarming examples of ex students in successful jobs and careers, who would otherwise not have had the opportunity of education. Two ex students are now volunteer teachers at the centre, and they support themselves with part time work in decorating and computer repair.