Chisomo Ministries is based in Lusaka, Zambia, and provides support for children who are living on the streets. Headed up by the founders, Aaron and Josephine Chilunjika, the staff at Chisomo run a drop-in project for the children, so that they have somewhere safe to come to during the day. At the drop-in they can get a meal, have a wash, take part in educational activities, access counselling, and just have a safe place to lie down and sleep, where the police won’t come and move them on.
The children have ended up on the streets for a range of reasons – abuse, poverty, death of parents are the three most common causes. As a result many cannot return home, even if they wanted to, and so fostering is their only chance of gaining a secure home. But finding a foster home can take time, and therefore Chisomo also has a transitional home, or halfway house. Here the children get back into the habit of following ‘house rules’, and living as part of a family, so that they are more likely to cope with the transition to a real family.
As well as the drop-in centre and the transition house, Chisomo also supports children in getting into mainstream school where possible. For many this means going to a boarding school where they not only get education, but also food, accommodation and friendship.
Here Wilson, one of the Chisomo-supported young people, speaks about his experience at school.