Zambia has the fourth highest birth rate in the world and an extremely high HIV/AIDs burden. These factors combined with a high level of poverty – 60.5% of the population live below the poverty line – and a low level of education mean that life expectancy is low at 52 years old.
What are the challenges?
Communities in Zambia’s North Western Providence known as “dark villages” are mostly cut off from the surrounding area, since they are deeply rural areas with little or no contact with government services, or the general public. Families there survive on subsistence farming with at most an acre of land to feed the whole family.
The spread of HIV/AIDS has devastated these communities, resulting in many orphans, widows and the loss of productive potential. Around two of every five families in this area live on less than $1 per day and typically survive on just one meal a day.
Many children are out of school because families cannot afford the fees and related costs.
Global Care, alongside our Zambian partners, New Life Action Foundation Trust, aim to create “a community which is able to educate, clothe and feed its children.” We are working in Kabompo, the poorest district in Zambia.
Through a sponsorship scheme, 30 of the most vulnerable children from the “dark villages” are being enabled to access education and support with feeding and medical care. A local committee selects the neediest children, such as those who have lost both parents, those with terminally ill parents and children with disabilities. A further 33 children are on our waiting list for sponsors.
In 2019 Global Care has been able to provide four permanent classrooms, pit latrines, secure storage and a headteacher’s office for M8 Primary School in Makayi village, replacing temporary thatched shelters, and providing dedicated teaching space for classes which previously met under trees. The opening of the new school has had a huge impact on the community, increasing enrolment and attendance, and the development of adult literacy classes too. However there is still much to be done, to enable children and their families to break free from poverty.
Global Care is also funding a small women’s microfinance initiative, which has just (late 2019) doubled in size from supporting 10 women to 21 women, with the aim of supporting very vulnerable families living in circumstances of extreme poverty.