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.
*Billy’s father died when he was six, and his mother died a year later. He and his five siblings were left in complete poverty. Relatives took them in, but needed help to support them all.
The family asked our partners in Zambia for help – and they could. We found Billy a sponsor, and one year on his life is completely different. He has clothes, shoes, school uniform, blankets, books, pencils and food packs. What does this add up to for Billy? A brighter future.
What are the challenges?
Communities in Zambia’s North Western Province are known as “dark villages” as they have little or no contact with government services, and limited infrastructure. Families survive on subsistence farming with at most an acre of land to feed the whole family.
The spread of HIV/AIDS has devastated communities. Around two of every five families here live on less than $1 per day, often surviving on just one meal a day.
Accessing education in this region of Zambia is difficult for many children, who are often out of school because families cannot afford fees or related costs. Travelling long distances to school is often problematic, especially for younger children.
What is Global Care doing about poverty in Zambia?
Our local partners, New Life Action Foundation Trust, aim to create “a community which is able to educate, clothe and feed its children.” Global Care is supporting their work in Kabompo, the poorest district in Zambia.
Through a sponsorship scheme, 30 of the most vulnerable children from the “dark villages” now access education, and receive support with feeding and medical care. A local committee selects the neediest children. A further 33 children are on our waiting list for sponsors – can you help?.
We know that education for Zambia’s poorest children is the best way to lift them out of poverty. In 2019 Global Care built four permanent classrooms, pit latrines, secure storage and a headteacher’s office for M8 Primary School in Makayi village, a community school started by parents. The buildings replaced temporary thatched shelters, which frequently leaked, providing secure 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. Global Care was also the first organisation to deliver a clean water source to Makayi village, so vulnerable children no longer had to walk (an 8km round trip, several times a day), to collect dirty water from the Kabompo River, where they were also at risk of crocodile attack.
How can you help?
Why not sponsor a child in Zambia? We have seen the difference sponsorship makes repeated in thousands of children over the years, with the education that sponsorship enables releasing them from the poverty cycle. £25 a month gives a child all they need to enable them to learn and succeed.
You can also partner with this project. Regular monthly gifts from £18 enable our partners to plan sustainable initiatives, working with the community to further develop the school and consider other projects lifting families out of poverty.