Read Suzgo’s moving account of how growing up in rural Zambia inspired a lifelong passion for the work of SOS Children...
“I believe that children are the future and that every child is born with a seed of greatness. However, the seed needs the right environment to develop and to blossom, a place called home with loving parents, which SOS Children kindly provides to many orphaned children.
I had a difficult early childhood while growing up in the rural district of Lundazi in Zambia, and later on in my working life I had to cope with the loss of six of my siblings between 1989 and 2006. I have had a total of 15 orphaned children under my care as a result, and I am happy to say that almost all received their basic education. Seven have completed secondary school, and of this seven, three are training and one is working as qualified teacher. It is when I look back at my own life and the lives of children to my late brothers and sisters that I get inspired to help children who are deprived. It is not easy and the challenge is mammoth, but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step.
SOS Children has always captured my heart. I trained to be a teacher of Biology and Chemistry at the University of Zambia between 1988 and 1992. It was my wish, after graduation, to be part of the team advancing the values that SOS stood for by teaching in SOS schools, but the opportunity never came. Later on, in 2006, a chance arose. I was given a teaching post at the SOS school in Kitwe, Zambia to teach sciences, but at about the same time my wife completed her course here in the UK, and I had to join her.
Then I heard of plans to open an SOS Children’s Village in my home town of Chipata. I was very happy because I know the number of orphaned children is so high in Chipata and surrounding areas and that the Children’s Village would make a big positive impact. When I saw the advert for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, I thought it was an opportunity for me to do something special for orphaned children; to run for them and fundraise.
I paid for the race and informed friends at work, the local parish and in the neighbourhood that I would be running to fundraise for SOS Children. The response was overwhelming. The race day was exceptional - very hot and sunny, a luxury in Scotland. My race was at 11am, so I got up early that day, had a light breakfast and headed for Edinburgh - 30 minutes on the train. At 10.45 I got to the starting line slightly nervous, but I was confident as I had trained enough and knew I would finish the race in good time - despite a nippy knee. I managed to finish the race in 25 minutes and in position 63 out of more than 1000 participants, but the most important of all is that I manage to raise £641.00 for my charity.
Finally, I would like to thank my family for their support, and the people who made the donations. I am also grateful to SOS Children in the UK for handling my fundraising, as well as Clare and the SOS Children team in Chipata for their emotional support.”
Inspired by Suzgo’s story?
People like Suzgo are essential to the vital work we do around the world to help vulnerable children and families overcome hardship. Why not support our new Children’s Village yourself and become part of Chipata?