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Zambia

HIV/AIDS is responsible for more than half of Zambia's 1.4 million orphans, and it is one of our key focuses here. We work in Lusaka and 3 other locations to provide medical treatment and ongoing support for families affected by the virus, as well as a loving home for children who cannot live with their families. … more about our charity work in Zambia

Dickson’s success story

Dickson with his exam results
Dickson with his exam results

Dickson, 16, comes from a very poor family headed by his grandmother. Living in the slums of Zambia, she struggled to provide for him, his two brothers and three sisters. Despite his difficulties at home, with the support of SOS Children, Dickson is doing well at school and creating a brighter future for himself.

Dickson and his brothers and sisters came to live with his grandmother in Lusaka, Zambia after both of his parents died in 2003. He was a quiet boy, and very close to his grandmother, as the most significant parent figure he has ever known.

During the weekends and after he finished school Dickson had to do odd jobs so that they family had enough money for food. His grandmother makes money by selling a traditional drink called 'maheu'. Being the eldest child, Dickson had to fetch gallons of water everyday so that his grandmother can make the drink to sell at the market. He also earnt money by carring luggage for people from the bus stop. Dickson found it a struggle to keep up in school, “It was challenging and hard to do both work and school work and manage both successfully.

When he was younger, Dickson started school in Grade 1 at a government school. When he reached Grade 3, the financial situation at home became so bad that he had to stop school as his grandmother could no longer afford the fees.

When social workers from SOS Children heard about the family’s situation, they were enrolled into the Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in Lusaka. The FSP supports vulnerable families to stay together and ensures that children are able receive a good education for a better future. Dickson joined the SOS School in Lusaka in Grade 3, with his fees paid by SOS, and been attending daily ever since.

Dickson is pleased that he has been given the chance at a good and stable education. In 2008 he excelled in his Grade 7 exams. He scored 779 marks, an exceptionally high score. Dickson worked hard in school, despite finding some subjects more of a challenge.  As he explains says “I had problems especially in English.  My handwriting, spelling and spoken English were poor.” However, with encouragement from the SOS teachers, his own hard work and consistency in school attendance, he has been able to overcome these problems. In 2010, Dickson was elected as the head boy of the SOS School.
 
Now in Grade 10, he has continued to do well in his exams and wants to be an economist. Dickson says, “I feel awesome because this will encourage me to work even harder in future so that I can hopefully get a bursary to University.”  He is grateful for the support from SOS Children, without which he would never have received an education. For other children in the same situation, Dickson gives the advice to “study and use every opportunity wisely and not even the sky will be the limit”.