Zambia: Government Fails to Break the Street Kid Addiction

Zambia: Government Fails to Break the Street Kid Addiction
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

11 June 2008
Posted to the web 11 June 2008

Lusaka

A pilot project to rehabilitate thousands of children living on the streets of the Zambian capital of Lusaka is failing because government is excluding civil society from the programme, civic leaders are claiming.

Two years ago, the government began recruiting Lusaka’s street kids and placing them into training centres under the auspices of the Zambia National Service – a department of the government’s national security services that also includes the police and army – to provide them trade skills, such as carpentry and tailoring.

But following their graduation from life and trade skills training, the street kids are returning to their old lives, as there has been no planning by government on how the skills could be utilized by the street kids to their benefit.

"We have not planned well in terms of the exit strategy. There is so much government resources that have gone into rehabilitating street kids over the last two years, but there is no thinking as to where the children will go after training," Godfridah Sumaili, chairperson of the Children In Need Network, a coalition of nongovernmental organisations working with orphans and vulnerable children, told IRIN.

"This programme is failing, mostly because government has not worked closely with the civil society. It was executed without the involvement of the civil society. Government should ensure that civil society is fully involved in terms of helping to resettle these [trained] children," he said.

This programme is failing, mostly because government has not worked closely with civil society. It was executed without the involvement of civil society

Moses Phiri, 15, is one of thousands of Zambia’s street kids who were sent to one of the training centres, but since completing his rehabilitation has returned to his old haunts and ways, begging on the streets for money.

"I [have] lived like this since 2001 when [my] parents died. I sleep in ditches. If I see people carrying plastic bags, I ask to help. They give anything, maybe 1,000 kwacha [US$ 0.30], maybe more. I was forced to leave [the] streets, but that programme is not good, it’s not helping us," Phiri told IRIN.

Street life exposes children to violence, exploitative and hazardous labour conditions, such as sex-work and child trafficking, and a plan to counter these influences was drawn up by government in 2006.

For nearly two years the Street Kids Rehabilitation programme has been targeting male children on the streets and recruiting them to one of three training centres situated in Copper Belt and Eastern provinces and one centre on the outskirts of Lusaka.

The pilot project is only targeting boys from Lusaka at this stage and not from any other urban areas in Zambia as yet.

Since the programme’s inception in late 2006, government estimates that more than 1,200 children have successfully completed the skills training and rehabilitation programme, although only a handful of them have managed to earn a living from the skills they have acquired.

"If they [government] want me to leave [the streets], let them also give me job. They take me to camp, they teach me English, they teach me to make beds, to make chairs; but they don’t give me a job after. They give me tools. I sold them for a cheap price. So, I have come back to start begging again, nothing has changed. I have no supporter [sponsor], I beg to live," Phiri said.

The addiction of street life

Poverty and HIV/AIDS are often cited as the major factors responsible for Zambia’s growing numbers of street children.

About two-thirds of Zambia’s 12 million people live on US$1 or less per day, while UNAIDS estimated that about 17 percent of people aged between 15 and 49 years old are infected with HIV/AIDS.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that Zambia has about 1,25 million orphans, or one in every four children, and of those orphans about 50 percent are 10 years-old or younger.

According to government figures, there are about 75,000 street children in Zambia, although unofficial estimates put the figure at about twice that number.

The minister of community development Catherine Namugala, whose department is also involved in the street kid rehabilitation programme, told IRIN the government could not be wholly blamed for street children returning to their old ways after graduating from the training camps.

"It must be appreciated that these skills are just meant to help the children stand on their own, and not continue begging on the streets. The problem is that they are addicted to street life. Street life is addictive.

When a child goes on the street, first he gets scared of the environment but afterwards, he becomes used to it and it is very difficult to rehabilitate him once he reaches that stage

"When a child goes on the street, first he gets scared of the environment but afterwards, he becomes used to it and it is very difficult to rehabilitate him once he reaches that stage," Namugala said.

"We give these children tools to use in their new trade, but the problem is that they want everything to be done for them. Government can’t create jobs for everyone, that’s why we are empowering our children to become self-reliant and, above all, to instill discipline in them," she said.

Viola Kamutumwa, a child care specialist and consultant, said if the skills programme was to succeed, government had to change its approach and instill a sense of independence and entrepreneurial know-how.

"Government should be telling these children the truth that they have to fight for their own survival after the training," she said.

"Children need to be constantly reminded that there is no market for their services, but they have to create it themselves, otherwise they forget and the end product is what we are seeing now – they are back on the streets," Kamutumwa said.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

Zambia’s ‘Street’ Children

Zambia’s ‘Street’ Children
Nothing short of a Herculean effort is required to help the growing legion of orphans
Masimba Biriwasha
Just a stone’s throw away from the posh Manda Hill Shopping Mall in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, little kids mill around traffic lights sniffing glue and pestering motorists and pedestrians alike for money, food and whatever else they can scrounge.

Many of the kids, dressed in filthy rags, are regarded as a menace to society due to their antisocial behavior. Near the traffic lights a big poster warns the public not to give money or food to the children, euphemistically referred to as "street kids."

According to the poster, giving money or food only causes the children to remain on the street. Put in other words, the social menace that many of the nouveau rich in this leafy and suburban area fear will continue to grow.

Many of the so-called street kids are part of a generation of children in Zambia that is growing up without parental care, support or guidance. The children are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and disease.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that there are approximately 1,250,000 orphans in Zambia — that is, one in every four Zambian children — with about 50 percent under nine years of age.

Orphans are defined as children who have lost one or both parents. The extended family network, a traditional safety net for orphaned children, is breaking apart due to the enormity of the HIV crisis throughout the country.

Additionally, the huge number of orphaned children is overwhelming national health, social welfare and education systems in Zambia, as in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Most of the children face a bleak future, without parents to care for them and with little, if any, assistance offered by the government.

The children are often traumatized by the death of parents, stigmatized through association with HIV and often thrown into desperate poverty by the loss of breadwinners. They live under enormous pressure and suffer depression and other psychological problems.

Young girls, in particular, are the first to be denied educational opportunities in favor of boys and are forced into early marriages with older men, which put them at higher risk of HIV infection.

Children, both girls and boys, turn to the streets in search of a better life but the reality that confronts them can only be described as grim. Street life creates extreme vulnerability to violence, exploitative and hazardous labor, sex-work and trafficking.

In fact, internal trafficking of children has become rampant in Zambia. Sadly, there is little to no awareness of this social malaise.

Nothing short of a Herculean effort is required to help the growing legion of orphans in Zambia to lead normal lives. A holistic approach that includes provisions for nutrition, health and cognitive development, and educational and psychosocial support is required to effectively respond to the orphan crisis in the country.

Addressing these basic needs at an early age would give orphaned children a healthy start and a more-hopeful future.

Strengthening family systems and community care mechanisms is fundamental to this holistic approach because putting children into institutional homes can have a devastating effect on their self-worth and identity.

Furthermore, there needs to be a concerted effort to keep children in school because school is one recognized shelter that can help the children to discover their own potential.

The government must protect the children of Zambia with improved institutional, legal and social conditions, hopefully bringing an end the need to "protect" motorists from "street kids" at traffic lights.

“Fire next time” creates stir

"Fire next time" creates stir


Lusaka – Last weekend, the Lusaka Playhouse came alive with "Fire Next Time." This play evoked the audience to look at street kids in a different light.

The play�s refreshing angle gave the kids on the street a human face as most of them have been found to be on the street because they have lost their parents either due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, ill treatment by their parents or guardians and poverty.

"The fire next time" revolves around the gang from "The House of Wisdom" which includes gang leader Chotaya, Seba � Chotaya�s right hand man, Yusufu � Chotaya�s older brother, Msamariya � Chotaya�s girlfriend, Tool boy and Chizola � Chotaya�s minions as they all reflected on how they got into the streets.

The play, however, came to a crescendo when the characters of Nchimunya and Kaole entered the play. Nchimunya, Director of the Hope Centre, an NGO established to help street kids, and played by Claude Mulundu and his assistant Kaole, played by Linda Muwowo Sakala, find themselves embroiled in a dangerous situation.

Nchimunya, together with Kaole, finds himself in the centre of a crisis as he endeavours to better the life of street kids as he confronts the inhabitants to find an alternative location to inhabit as the NGO had purchased the piece of land in order to build a centre for orphans.

Nchimunya finds himself questioning his dream of helping street kids as his ordeals instead bring him more questions than answers.

It is in this moment that the truth plummets Nchimunya into shock when Chotaya during a search of Nchimunya�s belongings for any cash the group can use, he discovers a picture of Nchimunya�s father, a man who is in fact his father. This is one of the revelations that shake Nchimunya and make question the relevance and efficacy of his work.

It is at this moment that Chotaya and his gang refrain from harming Nchimunya and Kaole after he reflects on the weight of the occasion, although not without leaving with the ration money, which had been in Nchimunya�s vehicle.

Chanda Mulenga, Kamwengo Vunda Lungu and Victor Mweetwa played supporting characters of Chizola�s uncle and Aunty and Hope Director respectively.

Key characters were Chotaya played by Mostern Mutale, Seba by Taonga Liwewe, Yusufu by Lee Nonde, Masamariya by Nyambwisa Musonda, Tool Boy by Goerge Shawa and Chizola by Dominic Sitamu.

 

Zambia: 46 Ex-Street Kids Abandon Camp

Zambia: 46 Ex-Street Kids Abandon Camp
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

8 September 2007
Posted to the web 10 September 2007

Ndola

FORTY SIX former street kids who were enrolled to undertake various survival skills courses at the Chiwoko Zambia National Service Camp (ZNS) in Katete last March have deserted the camp.

Chiwoko ZNS camp deputy commandant, John Mwanza said when the Parliamentary committee on Youth and Child Welfare visited the camp to check on the success of the programme, that those who left were mainly from Lusaka and Copperbelt.

Major Mwanza said out of the 434 street kids who were enrolled from all provinces, only 388 youths had remained.

He explained that some of the youths left the camp because they failed to cope with the changed environment and the code of conduct while others thought they were being taken to the camp to start employment.

He said others left because they wanted to undertake courses of their own preferences.

Major Mwanza said medical examinations carried out on the youths revealed that most of them were suffering from various sexually transmitted infections and respiratory diseases, among others.

He said the youths had finished the first phase of their training, which involved theoretical understanding of the skills and would now move on to do some practical lessons.

Zambia: K3.9 Billion for Street Kids Programme Paid Out

Zambia: K3.9 Billion for Street Kids Programme Paid Out

GOVERNMENT has so far released K3.9 billion of the approved K6.4 billion in this year’s Budget for street children’s programme, Community Development and Social Services Minister, Catherine Namugala, has said.

In a ministerial statement to Parliament yesterday to outline the progress and status of the street children programme, Ms Namugala said her ministry had removed 52 children from various streets of Lusaka and 398 others in seven other districts.

The minister said the ministry of Finance and National Planning had from January to date released K3.9 billion out of which K647,612,250 had been used to purchase 11 motor vehicles to ease the problem of transport for district social welfare officers.

She said K1,197,213,333 billion had been disbursed to 19 districts, which were currently implementing the programme of removing children from streets.

Seven motor vehicles have therefore, been delivered to the various districts to ensure efficiency of the programme.

The release of the money demonstrated Government’s commitment to upholding the right and welfare of children in Zambia.

"The ministry has so far removed 52 children in various streets of Lusaka and mostly at the Manda Hill fly-over bridge out of which 38 boys have been placed at Fountain of Hope Foundation children’s home.

"These children are currently undergoing rehabilitation and will soon be reintegrated into their families," Ms Namugala said.

Families for most of the Lusaka children have been traced and were being prepared to receive them.

The other 398 children were removed from the streets of Kitwe, Ndola, Kabwe, Solwezi, Kafue, and Kapiri-Mposhi.

Ms Namugala said 138 of the children had been placed in children’s centres for screening while 260 of them were reintegrated into their families after they were screened.

Government has empowered families of the children with start-up capital for income generating ventures.

She said more families would be empowered as the programme currently focused on 22 districts captured in the 2006 street children situation analysis survey report conducted by her ministry.

Government has renovated and provided three children’s centres with equipment to ensure appropriate standards for the care of children.

Home Affairs Minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, told the House that Government was seriously scouting for a suitable officer to replace the late Lusaka Province police commanding officer, Wasakaza Ng’uni.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha was responding to a supplementary question by Kalomo MP, Request Muntanga, (UPND) who asked when Government would find a suitable replacement of the late Mr Ng’uni.

"The late Mr Ng’uni was a wonderful worker to easily replace and we are taking a deep search for his replacement but as soon as this is done the nation will be informed," Lt-Gen Shikapwasha said.

Earlier, Home Affairs deputy minister, Grace Njapau, told the House that the order by Inspector-General of Police, Ephraim Mateyo, to introduce day and night police patrols was now paying off in as far as reducing crime in Lusaka was concerned.

Ms Njapau was responding to a question by Lukulu East MP, Batuke Imenda, (ULP) who asked what Government was doing to curb the sudden increase in violence, crime and general lawlessness in most compounds of Lusaka as reported in the media.

Shelter that gives hope to Africa’s street children

Shelter that gives hope to Africa’s street children

MARRIANE PALLISTER

Rick Mwiinga and his twin brother spent four years on the streets of Lusaka, the Zambian capital. In 2002, the boys were rescued by workers from a project on the outskirts of the city known as Mthunzi – shelter.

They found themselves living with a dozen other boys around their age (at the time they were about 13 years old, although they were uncertain of their exact age). They were given clean clothes, food and sent to the local school in the nearby village of Tubalange.

Over the next few years, the number of children grew to around 60 – a drop in the ocean if we look at the number of street children spawned by poverty and HIV/Aids in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, which is again being highlighted during this Christian Aid week. In the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, it is expected that there will be two million children living on the streets by 2010 and, in Lusaka, there are tens of thousands.

Rick had missed four years of schooling, but he soon caught up and now, coming up for 19, he is at a secondary school and hoping to go on to college or university. Donors in Scotland have helped to pay the school fees for Rick and the other youngsters at Mthunzi.

When he first went to the centre he was told that he could be anything he wanted. He only had to work hard and it would happen.

He said he wanted to be a pilot. Instead, he has become a talented musician and dancer and helps to write dramas about the plight of street kids.

He’s a talented member of the Mthunzi culture group which has won awards in Zambia for performances and which gives workshops about avoiding HIV/Aids and child abuse to children who are still living on the street.

Now he has decided he wants to write articles. English, which is Zambia’s official language, doesn’t come to him easily as a written medium, although he speaks eloquently and passionately.

His first subject choice is about his experience of the streets – as his friend Jack Chisenga, another former street child, says: "Choose what you know."

These are Rick’s words: This note is dedicated to those who are still in the street and also to those who feel that they can give help. Possible or not possible, one day you’ll realise that street life is not good in any way. You will then believe that everything has its own time. The reason why I am saying this is because I lived on the street for four years so I am talking from experience.

Probably for those who have been in the street before and even for those who are there right now, it is neither their wish nor their parents’ wish but circumstances. Children go on the street for different reasons.

For example, they go on the streets through peer pressure – the influence of their friends. They go on the streets because of poverty in the family. When there is a lack of money to go to school, they don’t have anywhere else to go.

The HIV/Aids pandemic has also led innocent children into street life, and marriage breakages have also resulted in a poor foundation for children. When a man marries another woman, the step-children will be mistreated in terms of food, not having clothes, no education and freedom.

To avoid this kind of abuse, children will prefer street to home.

Being in the street is not easy but it’s good if you don’t know how tough it is, or you haven’t yet realised that you will be facing a lot of difficulties – nowhere to sleep, no food, no good water and no good clothes to wear.

The only way street children solve their problems is by smoking dagga, sniffing glue and drinking beer, and this is just to help them forget about their problems. They don’t know that they are abusing themselves.

Some of the street kids die right there in the street, especially in the cold season in June, and this is because of a lack of blankets to make them warm. This also happens in the rain season because they spend their nights outside and they are always soaked.

Accidents and being beaten up badly also lead to the loss of their lives.

Never say that they have nowhere to go. They still dream about becoming future leaders who’ll be respected some time in their lives. It becomes so painful for them when they see their friends being taken to school and this makes them feel bad and neglected.

Probably they’ll start thinking of going back home. Unfortunately, they find it hard to leave the street because they’re wed to street life.

Because of this increase of children in the street we have suggested what we can do about this problem. It is to build up more centres like Mthunzi.

Related sites:

  • koinoniazambia.org
  • christian-aid.org.uk
  •  

    Lubuto Libraries Provide Haven for AIDS Orphans, Street Children

    08 May 2007

    Lubuto Libraries Provide Haven for AIDS Orphans, Street Children

    U.S.-supported project in Zambia may expand to other African countries

    Enlarge Photo

    Fountain of Hope staffers

    Fountain of Hope staffers are being trained to classify books for the new Lubuto Library. (Courtesy Lubuto Library Project)

    Washington — Children in Lusaka, Zambia, whose parents died of AIDS can find refuge from life on the streets in a special library where they read or listen to stories, learn about the wider world and improve their chances for an education.

    The Lubuto Library Project was started by an American woman who believes that, in addition to food and shelter, every child deserves a chance to learn and to hope for a better future. Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language of Central Africa that means "enlightenment, knowledge and light," says Jane Kinney Meyers, the project’s founder and president.

    The project has taken shape as a Washington nonprofit organization that is collecting 5,000 high-quality children’s books to be shipped to Lusaka and housed in a special library being built in the traditional Zambian architectural style.  This first library, which will open later this year, will be the model for 100 more the project hopes to build in Zambia and other African countries.

    The next two Lubuto libraries are scheduled to be built in the rural communities of Nabukuyu and Itimpi.  Each will have a complete collection of children’s books in new or excellent condition, said Meyers, because “we want the children we serve to know that we respect them and feel they are worthy of good, new books.”

    Meyers, an American librarian who spent many years in Africa, notes that for reasons ranging from lack of money to prejudice, children orphaned by AIDS, as well as other street kids, often are unable to attend school.  The Lubuto library will provide them “an opportunity to learn,” to improve their literacy and even to study for secondary school entrance exams.

    In 1998 Meyers visited the Fountain of Hope drop-in center for street children in Lusaka and began reading aloud to the kids.  There was an overwhelming response, she said; she would spend one or two hours reading to the children and “they still were begging for more.” In 2001 Meyers and the Fountain of Hope staff started a small library in a metal shipping container with books donated from the United States and the United Kingdom, and children lined up to get in.

    Meyers, interviewed in Washington, recounted how, a year after her return to the United States, she “began to hear that because of that library, kids were able to go to secondary school.”  Motivated youngsters were coming to the library and studying for school entrance exams.  “The tests ask a lot of questions about things around the world, such as who is the president of the United States, and the kids were able to learn” by reading, she said.  “Now those kids are grown up, and they have all finished high school.”

    Enlarge Photo

    Lubuto Library

    Workers thatch the roof of the first Lubuto Library in Lusaka, Zambia. (Courtesy Lubuto Library Project)

    Among these are Kenneth Hau, who now does outreach for the Fountain of Hope and wants to work in the new Lubuto library when it opens.  Another young visitor to the shipping-container library, Humphrey Mulenga, graduated from high school and is doing outreach for AIDS prevention groups. His memoir is on the Lubuto Library Project Web site.

    The project works with the Zambian Library Association as well as the ministries of education and child development.  U.S. donations come from individuals, libraries, book publishers, the National Geographic Society and other donors.

    Several secondary schools in the Washington area have conducted book drives, and each Sunday afternoon students help classify the donated books and prepare them for shipment to Zambia.  “We are trying to raise awareness among young people here how HIV/AIDS has affected other young people in Africa,” Meyers said.

    Her daughter Penelope, 17, and son Henry, 14, are involved in the project.  Penelope said she learned of the plight of AIDS orphans and other street kids during her years in Zambia with her family. “But I have friends who haven’t ever been to Africa who are able to understand the importance of this and have been eager to get involved,” she said.

    In November 2006 a documentary on the project, narrated by U.S. civil rights leader Julian Bond, premiered at an event hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka.  The Lubuto Library Project “reflects the standards of library services for children in the United States, as well as the American tradition of free access to information and learning,” said U.S. Ambassador Carmen Martinez. “Likewise, beginning here in Zambia, Lubuto libraries will provide an opening into the world, making available education, information” and hope for children who need it most, she added.

    The new library in Lusaka will replace the shipping container.  The main building will have a sunken sitting area in the center for reading or storytelling as well as smaller reading areas around the perimeter. There will also be an arts center. The beauty of the buildings tells the children “that somebody cares about them,” said Meyers.

    Children will be encouraged to write down stories in their native languages.  And, with most of the donated books in English, Meyers said she is eager to find more books in local languages.

    Meyers said it is critical that the Lubuto libraries are beautiful, welcoming and respectful of local tradition “because the children we’re serving have for the most part been cut off completely from their culture. In a society where your identity is so closely tied up with your family
    and your relationships to your people, it’s a profound trauma not to have [those] connection[s].”

    “We want these libraries to be the place where society reaches back and pulls them back in,” she said.

    More information on the Lubuto Library Project is available on the organization’s Web site.

    (USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Invest in children-Namugala

    Invest in children-Namugala
    The Minister for Community Development says there is need to invest in the welfare of children because they are the future leaders.

    Catherine Namugala said there is need for everyone to help aleviate the suffering of street kids.

    She said this, at a Street kids Strategic Planning Workshop in the capital – Lusaka.

    The minister appealed to co-operating partners to assist government empower vulnerable families.

    Ms. Namugala said government has put in place programmes to help vulnerable families access basic needs.

    And Youth and Child Development, Permanent Secretary, Bob Samakai said government has set aside K3.2 billion to train street kids.

    He said the training will target 375 street children at Chihoko Camp, in Eastern Province.

    The programme will be launched on April 13.

    Meanwhile, United Nations Children Emergency Fund-(UNICEF) Country Representative, Lotta Sylwander said her organisation will work with government to ddress the welfare of vulnerable children.

    Former street kids doing fine

    Former street kids doing fine
    The young people who were removed from a youth training camp in the Copperbelt Provice district of Lufwanyama are said to be doing fine.

    Provincial Permanent Secretary, Jennipher Musonda said the youths have been taken to the Central Province Town of Kabwe, about 100km outside the capital Lusaka.

    The youths are currently at King George skills training centre, but will soon be dispatched to places of their choice.

    Mrs. Musonda said they will be given necessary tools to help them set themselves up.

    About three weeks ago the youths were involved in a fight with lufwanyama residents.

    The Youths are former Street Kids whom government has removed and put into training camps to give them a fresh start in life.

    Zambia: Smeda Helping Street Kids

    Zambia: Smeda Helping Street Kids
    The Times of Zambia (Ndola)

    March 27, 2007
    Posted to the web March 27, 2007

    John Sakala

    A YOUNG girlin standard five at the age of 12 at Lubwa mission boarding School in Chinsali surprised many people.

    One day a Malawian mother comes to Chinsali with her two children, but unfortunately, she dies leaving her two children with no one to care for them.

    Moreover, they are still young and in a foreign land.

    The situation is despairing.

    Who would care for these children?

    Everyone was shunning them.

    Then a 12 year-old school girl in boarding school volunteers to keep them in her room. The challenges of boarding life does not overshadow her large heartednessbecause she is willing to share her little means of living with the newly-adopted children.

    This girl, now woman, is 60 yearstoday.

    She keeps, teaches and feeds 26 vulnerable children at her home.

    Her name is Smeda Kaira Gondwe.

    Mrs Gondwe is the founder of Wilson ‘s Orphans and Street Kids Centre (WOSKC) located in Chingola’s Riverside township.

    Smeda, as she prefers to be addressed,in her teenage experience of keeping the vulnerable went with the passage of time.

    However, her childhood experience came to be a reality whenher son Wilson, died. Wilson, who the orphanage is named after, went for studies in the United Kingdom and later got a job.

    Unfortunately he died and left two of his children without a mother or any relative to care for them.

    The news was disheartening to the mother of Wilson back home in Zambia and after recieving the sad news, immediately she made travelling arrangements.

    She was shocked upon arrival in UK on how the children were cared for.

    Her childhood experience was immediately revived.

    Smeda with her husbandwere told to leave their progenybehind because the UK government had pledged to take care of them.

    This marked the beginning of teenhood experience.The couple was moved into thinking of how to help the vulnerable.

    Smeda said that she had a noble call that she never realised until it got porked by unforeseen occurrences.

    "I now keep 26 street Kids and vulnerable children in my home. We have a community school; we provide food and many other basics.These children lackparental love, care and security because a family is a necessity of everyone. And it requires sacrifice but if you have a passion for the children you derive more in learning their behavior and the desire to make them better citizens.

    "When I was keeping those two children in 1953 at Lubwa Mission, I never knew someone will keep my children in a foreign land like UK. The Bible says ‘do to others the way you want them to do to you.’" Smeda recalled.

    She said helping the street kids and vulnerable children was a noble course that required commitment.

    "The Apostle James in 2:27 said: "the form of worship that is clean and pure from God’s stand point is to look after orphans and widows in their trouble. Therefore it is one with the heart of contribution towards the well-being of the children that always help," Smeda said.

    Chingola district HIV/AIDS coordinator, Margret Mwamba,saidit needed someone with a largerheart to accommodate street kids and vulnerable children who were looming on the street.

    Mrs Mwamba said that thekeeping of street kids and vulnerable children did not require someone to be materially or financially sound but having passion for the children and willingness to help them.

    Mrs Mwamba, who is also a volunteer for UNICEF saidthe Government and donors help those organisations that had done 25 per cent in materially or monetary form.

    She thanked Rodwell Gondwe and his wife Smeda Kaira Gondwe for turning their home into an orphanage centre, that houses school, provideshelter and other basic needs. She said the Gondwe family started to run the orphanage with their own resources for a long time before South Africa AIDS Trust (SAT)came in as a donor.

    Mrs Mwamba said the larger heart of Smeda when she was younger at a boarding school was like sowing good works that God saw it fit for hergrand children to reap.

    WOSKC isa community-based organisation that primarily seekways to help children affected by AIDS.

    Since its inception 2002,WOSKChas been aiming at helping the Government in removing street kids and vulnerable children from the street and house them in conducive places to help them become better citizens.

    What could be thechallenges the organisation is facing?The problems can range from financial to emotional needs.

    Mr Gondwe, WOSKC director, said it was not easy meet teachers demand and most of the times teachers had to copy with very little salaries as compared to their input.

    Hesaid the teachers and the board members who were working with him did not receive any money for their dedication and commitment.

    The teachers were doing it because it was a noble course that they felt they should do.

    Apart from the children that havehoused, we still have many that are not sheltered.

    These too lack food, clothing and good nutrition which retards their growth and does affect their performance in class.

    Such children come in class with divided minds making the work of a teacher so challenging.

    He said emotional support was cardinal for mission of a teacher to be accomplished, as some of the children were slow learners who needed individualised training to abreast the lesson.

    As many NGOs are busy searching for the donor, others with pure motive and committment are mapping a way showing them that leads to solution to the vulnerable children.

    The words thatdeserve to sink to our hearts as we simply pass a glance at the orphans and vulnerable children are’You will reap what you sow because if you sow sparingly you will also reap sparingly and if you sow bountifully you also reap bountifully’.