Jess lives in Zambia. She is 10 years old and living on the streets of Lusaka. She went to the streets a few months back, because she says that life at home just got too tough. Her dad isn’t around at all – in fact Jess doesn’t even know who he is or whether he is alive – and her mum is mentally ill and unable to care for herself or Jess in any way. Because of her illness, Jess’s mum lives a precarious, dysfunctional and unstable life, moving from place to place, and Jess now doesn’t even know where she lives.
Jess says that she was introduced to the streets by her friends who have been frequenting the streets for some time. Together they beg for money – none of them are now in touch with their families.
No one has bothered to put Jess through school. By now she should be in form 3 or 4, but Jess has never had the chance to learn and it’s something she very much wants to be able to do.
On the 7th of February, 2019 Jess, tobether with 3 friends, went to the Child Protection Unit of the Zambia Police for help in finding a place to stay and to go to school.
The Children Protection Unit hand her over to the Lusaka District Social Welfare office on the 8th of February 2019, and they in turn contacted CRED Partner, the Chisomo Street Kids programme, to ask them to take Jess in at their shelter and try to help her find a way to start school.
So that is what Aaron Chilunjika, who founded Chisomo, and his wife Josephine, and the Chisomo staff are now doing, and here’s hoping that they have success in their quest, and that Jess is soon able to realise her dream of going to a mainstream school and learning her way out of the poverty that has doggedly beset her thus far in her young life .