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13,000 children across Zambia are reported to live on the streets, some as young as 6 years old. Of these, roughly 10% sleep on the streets, while others stay with family members or friends overnight. Most of the children are boys, but about 10% are girls.
Founded in 2009 by Chitalu Chishimba, VoH aimed to address the problem of young girls living on the streets in Lusaka and girls forced to flee abusive home situations. Once they make the decision to come to the centre, the girls have food, clothes and a bed, and importantly, someone to listen to and care for them.
Last year, our teams returned to Vision of Hope to begin phase 2 which comprises of a common room, kitchen and toilets. This work continues into our 2018 teams as we continue to develop the centre, enabling more girls to be rescued from a perilous life on the street.
When Mission Direct first encountered Crown of Life School in 2009, there were 300 children meeting in a small church hall, covering primary grades from 1 to 7. With substantial funding from a UK church, Mission Direct volunteers helped to build a new school between 2010 and 2012, on a green field site on the edge of Lusaka. In recent years, the school has added lower secondary grades 8 & 9. Today, there are over 370 pupils, in Grades 1 to 9 (ages 6 to 16), outgrowing the current facilities.
Last year, our teams built a new classroom at an estimated cost of about £8,000, enabling the start of Grade 10 classes in 2017.
School fees are about £5 a month for primary grades and £10 for secondary, but many parents cannot afford to pay. In fact, about a third of the pupils at the school do not pay fees and some pupils are supported through sponsorship schemes.
Amos and Ketty Lwabila, a Zambian couple started Kumbayah Ministries in 2004, running a primary school for over 500 children in a desperately poor shanty town in Lusaka. The school used to meet in cramped rooms in a former tavern, but in 2010 a UK trust, working through Mission Direct, provided funds for the construction of a new school. The new school opened to pupils in January 2012 and in 2014 Mission Direct built two more classrooms at the school to cope with increasing demand for places from local families. We continue to support Amos and Ketty and have further plans to develop the school.
Fountain of Hope, bringing friendship, acceptance and an opportunity to start a new life, is a transit home for boys – providing accommodation, food and an opportunity to return to school. But most of all, a listening ear, someone who cares. Many boys are given a new start by being reunited with their families, while others are helped to learn a new skill or set up a small business.
Since 2008, Mission Direct has helped provide food and clothing for the boys and salaries for the Outreach Workers. In 2012, Mission Direct built a new dormitory for 20 boys, providing good accommodation and greater privacy.
Footprints works to help children living on the streets of Lusaka find a better life, working closely with organisations providing residential care such as Vision of Hope (for girls) and Fountain of Hope (for boys). Started in 2013 by Sevelino Vasco, formerly an outreach worker with Fountain of Hope, Footprints plugs the gaps in the work of other agencies. It also works with Mother Teresa hospice to provide medical help and emergency care for children living on the streets. The organization also takes responsibility for arranging funerals of children who have sadly died on the streets, as a result of accidents, violence or illness.
Chisomo runs a drop-in centre for street children near a busy junction and shopping centre in Lusaka. They give children a safe haven, where they can eat, sleep and clean up. They have a programme of basic education and counselling, aiming to re-integrate children with their families or relatives. Typically, 15-30 children come to the drop-in centre each day, but for those who are serious about coming off the streets, Chisomo also have a residential centre where children can attend local schools.
Mission Direct became involved in this project in 2008, funding and building two new classrooms and putting two new toilets into the existing school. Plans for the school grew – with the vision that Kiine would eventually educate 900 young people – of whom 80% would be orphans and vulnerable children. In support of this vision, Mission Direct funded and built a new three-classroom block on an adjacent site, helping to complete a second block.
These classrooms have allowed the school to start secondary classes, helping children to continue their education. In 2013, volunteers repainted the original school buildings and the two classrooms built in 2008. The school has grown from 120 children in 2009 to almost 200 in 2014. We have also helped the school to establish a child sponsorship programme, which is now supporting over 30 pupils. Recent donations have also funded the purchase of a mobile science laboratory, enhancing the pupils learning through practical demonstrations.