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Celebrations as new SOS Children’s Village opens in Chipata

Jacob, one of the new residents in the Village
Jacob, one of the new residents in the Village

After more than two years in development, the latest SOS Children’s Village has been greeted with much jubilation in Chipata, eastern Zambia.

The SOS mothers were excited about meeting their new families and it was clear to see that SOS Children’s work would be welcome in the local community. The first twenty children had only just moved in and the builders were still adding the finishing touches when the opening ceremony took place in October.

New beginnings

The opening ceremony was a wonderful occasion where many colleagues, donors and well-wishers joined us. Among the dignitaries was the Vice President of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott, who spoke passionately about the need to care for orphans in the country. He said: “Both poverty and disease have contributed to the reduction of life expectancy. This has resulted in many young couples dying and leaving very young children without parental care, love and support. The majority of our children are denied the opportunity to grow up in a normal family environment.”

As well as marking a new start, the opening of a new SOS Children’s Village is the culmination of work undertaken across our whole organisation. Before any building begins we ensure that our plans will complement other local services without duplicating care and support already available. In Chipata, our colleagues began working closely with local organisations in 2010 and construction work started later that year.

Part of the community

The photo (right) shows Hannah, one of the SOS mothers and her first child Robin. The SOS Children’s Village really is a place of last resort – a refuge for children who have absolutely nothing and no one to care for them. Through our community Mother and baby from Chipataprogrammes, we are giving hope to families that are close to breaking point. By providing constructive help, we can make sure they have the means to look after the children in their care – including their own children, grandchildren and wider family units.

Family support

Mrs Lungu, who is a widow and needs help to walk, is the head of one of these families. She lives with her four daughters in a single room in the Chipata suburb of Mchini. Her two eldest daughters go to the local school and now, as part of our community programme, their school costs are covered. SOS Children also gives Mrs Lungu maize to grow and sell, as well as flour to make fritters, which she also sells. By saving her profits, Mrs Lungu has managed to extend her house and add a much-needed extra room.

With the opening of the SOS Children’s Village and associated work in the community, the prospects for families struggling in Chipata look a little brighter. By next October we hope to celebrate the first anniversary with good news from the first year in the Village.

Donors from the UK joined us on our visit to Chipata for the opening ceremony. If you would like to join us and visit our projects in Zambia and Malawi and celebrate the anniversary of the opening of SOS Children’s Village Chipata, or if you would like to receive regular Chipata updates, please contact Meryl Davies at meryl.davies@soschildren.org

Find out more about SOS Children’s Village Chipata.