Children can end up living on the streets for all sorts of reasons, most of them not of their own making. And whilst on the streets, life can feel pretty bleak. But thanks to the input from Chisomo, street children in Lusaka, Zambia, are getting access to new opportunities and new hope.
Here we meet some of the older young people, who having moved from the streets to the Chisomo Shelter, and thus been able to go to school, are now looking forward to new opportunities.
The Shelter is a ‘half way house’ for children who want to permanently leave the streets, but aren’t able to return home. Whilst living at the Shelter, they are able to go to school, thanks to sponsorship and financial donations. This in itself is a source of great hope for the children, as the financial donations are an indication that the children aren’t forgotten or that no-one cares, and the access to education is the first step towards working their way out of poverty.
After secondary, or high school, the young people might look for work, or sometimes they are lucky enough to get enrolled on a training programme to further develop their skills which in turn will make them even more employable. This is what has happened for 23 of the Chisomo young people, some of which are pictured below.
The Zambia National Service programme has been set up by the Zambian government in an effort to find a lasting solution to the problem of children living on the street. It provides ‘rehabilitation, reintegration and skills training to the vulnerable and children living on the street’. It is targetting youths age 15 – 25 and provides training in a range of skills including tailoring, catering, bricklaying, construction, carpentry, farming and plumbing.
Chisomo has been able to send 16 boys to the Chiwoko ZNS and 7 girls to the Chitwe ZNS, all of whom are benefitting greatly from the training and the opportunity to develop many skills.