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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

What does 2013 have in store?

Celebrations at the opening of SOS Children's Village Chipata
Celebrations at the opening of SOS Children's Village Chipata

This is an editorial by Andrew Cates, CEO of SOS Children: As a whole 2012 has been a mixed year. On the very positive side, SOS Children UK opened a new Village in Chipata, Zambia which together with a mobile medical clinic and a school revamp will make a huge impact on the children living in what is one of the poorest areas of the world.

Some of our supporters went out there for the official opening and met the wonderful children they will be supporting. I have not yet met anyone who had seen one of our Children's Villages in operation and was not inspired to do more for us as a result. Elsewhere across the world, we have helped tens of thousands of children.

Less positively, this year we have had more supporters phoning up to cancel sponsorships than ever before (many, sadly, saying that they had been made redundant in the recession and most saying they would restart when they could). In parallel it has been harder finding new supporters as media attention has moved away from the needs of children in the developing world  - as individuals nationally the UK has given 20% less overseas than in 2011, which itself was 20% less than 2010. Our own income has fallen more slowly and we are grateful for everyone who has kept their support up even when conditions were difficult. We have reduced our own office costs, and our office team has contracted. We have tightened our belts to try to keep the maximum possible going to children. We try to avoid asking our existing supporters for more and more, but there should be no misunderstanding that every contribution makes a real difference and we are very grateful.

What does 2013 hold as prospect? There is too long a list to mention everything. We remain concerned for peace, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Middle East (where our work in the Gaza strip is a concern). Children always suffer the most in times of conflict. There are presidential elections in Zimbabwe mid year, which may help to bring relief closer for the millions of children who are growing up in a very difficult environment there. We are anxious about rising international food prices and from a very local point of view concerned about exchange rates undermining our ability to do all that we should for children across the globe. But we are optimistic; not through belief in our own abilities but because, through your support, each year so many of our children are nurtured to learn and grow, making one more step towards independence  Every day in the life of a child is a day of progress and achievement and we are all so privileged to be part of that.

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