Posted: 6th December 2019
In October, Mission Direct and Footprints Foundation for Children in Zambia run a bespoke non-building team to work amongst the street children in Lusaka. Volunteers can serve alongside the dedicated Zambian Footprints outreach team in their work amongst groups of children and teenagers who have found themselves living in vulnerable, appalling and dangerous conditions on the streets.
Youngsters here run away from home and head to Lusaka for a variety of reasons; Some because of extreme poverty and are hungry; others have been orphaned and have no family; others are caught up in family conflict or are victims of abuse or neglect and often children are trying to escape punishment from family, neighbours or police after committing a misdemeanour.
It is approximated that there are around 1000 children living on the streets of Lusaka, 90% being HIV positive and many of the children, some as young as seven years old, are addicted to ‘Stika’ – a jet fuel that they sniff to blot out the misery of their situation and survive their lonely and desperate existence. Alarmingly, there are also more and more girls turning up on the street, some with young babies.
For the last few years, volunteers have witnessed first-hand the realities of life for many children living on the streets and have been able to join in the work of Footprints whose objective is to reintegrate them back to their families or find safe houses/children’s homes for them when it is not possible to return home.
This year we saw six children reunited with family members and rescued from the streets!
As well as the street outreach and reintegration programs, Footprints also provide funerals for children who lose their lives to the street and have no one either able or willing to take responsibility of arranging a burial for them. During this years campaign our volunteers witnessed the vital work of Footprints team in this area when tragically a former street girl called Eva committed suicide days after being reunited with her young son, and arrangements for a dignified funeral were undertaken by the team enabling Eva’s life to be remembered and honoured amongst her street family and friends.
This is the reality of life on the streets for many children here. Please keep them in your prayers.
You can join Footprints again in 2020. All Zambia teams support their work as an afternoon outreach programme, or there is a dedicated team in October which works solely alongside the charity. See teams here