In Zambia, poverty and disease has resulted in many families falling apart and children growing up vulnerable and alone.
On the outskirts of Chipata, a town in Zambia’s Eastern Province, three shanty towns are home to over 20,000 people. With a HIV prevalence rate of 22% and a lack of local healthcare, parents are dying and child-headed or grand-parent headed households are increasingly the norm. Children are extremely vulnerable and are living in precarious situations with limited prospects for the future.
Our Family Strengthening Programme in Chipata reaches out to families to help them to stay together, improve their standard of living, and become self-sufficient in the long-term.
Our programme operates across three shanty town catchment areas - Mchini, Magazine and Nabvutika. In partnership with local organisations, we identify those most in need – primarily families affected by HIV/AIDS.
We provide practical and emotional support to more than 150 families to prevent family breakdown and child abandonment. Initially, we offer healthcare, food parcels and clothing to address the family’s immediate needs. We help families repair their existing housing or assist them with finding somewhere better to live.
In order to ensure sustainability in the longer-term, we support parents and caregivers to access vocational training or establish small businesses, enabling them to become financially self-sufficient as well as benefiting the local economy. We also help children receive an education by subsidising school fees and providing uniforms to give them the best possible chance in life.
A brighter, independent future for Ruth and her family
Ruth lives in Nabvutika, a shanty town area on the edge of Chipata. After her husband died, she was left caring for five young grandchildren alone.
In the last rainy season her mud brick house collapsed. Unable to afford repairs and with little income, she moved the family into a rented one-roomed shack. The house has no electricity or water, so Ruth has to trek to a communal standpipe to fetch water.
When Rosalia, an SOS social worker from SOS Children, first met Ruth, her husband had just died. Ruth was suffering from illnesses herself and was struggling to see how she could improve the family’s situation.
SOS Children gave Ruth a start-up pack of dried beans which she began selling to her neighbours. She reinvested the profit into charcoal, a more profitable trade. Today, Rosalia is teaching Ruth and her neighbours basic accounting and marketing. Learning these skills will help them to run successful businesses and ensure they can continue their operations alone in the long term.
One year after joining the programme, Ruth is in better health, is financially independent and is saving towards rebuilding her home. With the help of SOS Children, all her grandchildren now go to school, helping to ensure that they do not repeat the cycle of poverty.
Keep families together
Your support will help our charity to strengthen vulnerable families so that they can go on to protect and care for their children and break the cycle of poverty.Give monthly to Chipata