Wendy says that she is 11 years old, at least that’s what her mother reckons, although she’s not totally sure, and she certainly doesn’t know when Wendy’s birthday is. She can’t ask her dad – he died when she was very young, so she has been brought up by her mum, and others in the community where they lived. She has never been to school, even though she has been of school-going age for the past 5 years of her life.
Wendy doesn’t live with her mum any more. She and her mum got evicted from their home after her mum got sick and was unable to pay the rent. Her mum is living with a friend now, but Wendy got lured away to the streets around that time, enticed by the promise of money.
She has since found that life on the streets doesn’t bring money at all, but rather fear, hunger, loneliness and danger. Thankfully, in an attempt to get off the streets, Wendy went to the Child Protection Unit in Lusaka, to ask them to help her find a place to stay and a chance to go to school.
The CPU brought Wendy to the Chisomo Shelter, a partner of CRED Foundation, asking them to take her in, and provide the food, shelter and access to education that she so desperately wants, and indeed that is her right, just like every other 11 year old child.
Thankfully that dream is now coming true – thanks to Chisomo, Wendy has a place to stay, food to eat, and is attending school, for the first time in her life. Long may it last!