Through no fault of their own, hundreds of children, some as young as 8 years old, end up living on the streets of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. For girls, that can lead to a life of prostitution and violence. Fortunately a number of organizations are helping lift these desperate children out of the situation in which they find themselves.
Vision of Hope was started in 2009 by Chitalu Chishimba, a young mother of two, who realized the dangers and challenges of street life for girls. Initially meeting once a week under a tree, Vision of Hope was eventually able to rent a small building in a shanty town, which became a ‘transit home’ for vulnerable girls. Many had been living on the street, but others came from broken homes. In recent years, Mission Direct volunteers have raised funds to build a new safe house, which has a large dormitory, showers, washrooms, counselling rooms, and a large multi-purpose hall. Now temporary home for over 40 girls, Vision of Hope works closely with the Government Social Welfare Department and the Police Child Protection Unit, as well as partners working on the streets of Lusaka. While reintegrating girls back into their wider families is always the target, in the meantime many attend local schools and learn valuable craft-making skills.