SOS Children in Zambia
Overview of Zambia
The republic of Zambia is in south-central Africa. It was potentially one of the richest countries on the continent, but is now amongst the world's poorest.
The average daily income is about 60p. Zambia gained independence from the UK in 1964, and subsequent socialist policies wreaked havoc on the economy. Today the economy has opened up and the government seems dedicated to tackling development issues; providing ARVs (anti retrovirals) to people with HIV/AIDS is a high priority. Zambia is a peaceful country, more stable than many of its neighbours, and its numerous ethnic groups live together in relative harmony.
There are an extremely high number of children in need in Zambia, either orphaned or neglected, due to the rural exodus in search of employment which is destroying the traditional concept of extended families or because of the AIDS epidemic. Life expectancy is 38 years. 10% of all children have lost both parents.
Our Work in Zambia
We began our work in Zambia in 1999 when SOS Children’s Village Lusaka opened; It is situated about 4 miles from the city centre in a densely populated and very poor area. The 40-acre site was donated by the Zambian government.
The 15 family houses have been built in groups of three in the local style, using red burnt clay bricks with green roof tiles, and are surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The grounds have been planted with ornamental trees, flowers and grass.
As well as the family houses, there is an SOS Youth Home and an SOS Nursery, which pre-school age children from the local community also attend and are given two meals a day, with priority given to children from the poorest families. An SOS Primary and Secondary School for 1,000 children, and an SOS Medical Centre, which caters for between 5,000 and 10,000 families a year, have since been added. We have also set up a Family Strengthening Programme, the main focus of which is a community outreach programme for about 2,500 children and their family members affected by HIV/AIDS.
In 2004, we opened a second SOS Children’s Village in Kitwe, the capital of the Copperbelt region in northern Zambia, an area with large migrant populations. The Village has 16 family houses for 190 orphaned and abandoned children. There is also an SOS Nursery which focuses on children from the local community who have special needs and an SOS Primary School for 700 children. The Family Strengthening Programme provides practical help and counselling to 2,500 children and their family members affected by HIV / AIDS. The SOS Medical Centre treats between 5,000 and 10,000 families a year in the local community.
A third SOS Children’s Village in Livingstone, about 300 miles south of Lusaka and the nearest town to the world-famous Victoria Falls, opened in early October 2008. It has 15 family homes for 150 orphaned and abandoned children, alongside an SOS Nursery and an SOS Primary School. A Family Strengthening Programme began in early 2008 and is supporting over about 1,000 children and their care givers in some of Livingstone’s poorer districts.
Opened in October 2012, SOS Children’s new Village in Chipata, Zambia, is home to children left alone because of poverty and disease. Known as Fort Jameson under colonial rule, Chipata is in the far east of the country near the Malawi and Mozambican borders. Over 70% of households in Chipata are caring for orphans, and in a large percentage of these already-struggling households, the main breadwinner is ill, often with HIV/AIDS. 150 children with no one to care for them are gradually moving into their new homes in the Village. The Village also has an SOS Nursery for the local children, and the children living in the Village. An SOS Medical Centre will provide 10,000 children and families with the care they need, including HIV/AIDS medicines. A Mobile Medical Unit, launched in 2011, is providing health education and medical treatment to poor and isolated communities. In addition, our community Family Strengthening Programme is helping 600 children and their families in three of the poorest districts of Chipata.
Aids Orphan Projects
Life in SOS Children's Villages Zambia: SOS Mother Margaret's Story
Margaret, an SOS mother at SOS Children’s Village Lusaka in Zambia, talks about some of the children she cares for:
“When we started, we experienced a number of things, for instance, the babies who arrived in very poor health - one week old Buleke came in a critical condition, he had to be rushed to the hospital as an emergency. He was admitted and miraculously pulled through. He is now a big boy aged four and in nursery school.
“Baby Charity was only three weeks old when she arrived. She, too, was in a poor, malnourished state with sores all over her body. She is now a bouncy and happy four-year-old enjoying nursery school. Then came Muchangwe at two weeks, who was also severely malnourished, dehydrated and suffered from boils all over her body. She is also four years old now.
“Every mother had a fair share of sleepless nights and anxiety over the children put in our care - however, we are thankful for … the wisdom, patience, understanding and courage … given to us so we can face up to these challenges. Being an SOS mother: it's a noble career, which we should be proud of.”
SOS Children's Village of Zambia Trust
Flat # 35, Bennie Mwiinga Housing
Off Great East Road
Postal address: P.O.Box 37907