Giveness’s Last 6 Hour Walk

Author Portrait_Annette Malilo, Information and Communication Officer
Annette Malilo

Information and Communication Officer

Save the Children in Zambia

August 18, 2017

Life has not been easy for 13-year-old Giveness, a grade 6 student in Lufwanyama, Zambia. She lives in a small village called Chifumpa with her mother, father and younger sister, 9-year-old Bibiana. Villagers here earn their living by fishing and farming. Giveness makes sure she helps her mother with washing dishes and fetching firewood, which are common daily chores for children in this rural part of the world.

Giveness with her bicycle, which cuts her 3-hour ride to school to just 1 hour!
Giveness with her bicycle, which cuts her 3-hour ride to school to just 1 hour!

Determined to be a nurse when she grows older, she goes to school every day with her sister. In the past, they would walk side-by-side for three hours each way to school through the thick forests that surround their village, spending an unbearable six hours walking each day. Because of this, children like Giveness and her sister were frequently absent and had to repeat grades due to poor school performance. For some, rivers and lakes further impede travel, when during the rainy season floods make some areas completely impassable for the unsupervised children on their daily journey.

“Before Save the Children gave us bicycles I used to walk 15 kilometers to school and back every day. I would start off at 5am when it’s still dark with my young sister. We would walk for 3 hours and our legs would be sore. We almost gave up on school. But now that I have a bicycle my legs feel better.” she shyly says in the local language, called Lamba.

Giveness is now able to go to school every day and carry her sister along with her on her bicycle, like many of her friends that have also received a bicycle thanks to sponsorship funding support, purchased through a community cash transfer program. The head teacher also shared that the number of children attending school has risen as those that have received bicycles carry their friends and siblings along as they go to school.

Giveness smiling with her friends outside of their sponsorship supported school.
Giveness smiling with her friends outside of their sponsorship supported school.

“I am so happy to be sponsored because I am able to learn, receive letters from my sponsor, and also have a bicycle. When I grow up I want to be a nurse because I am acquiring a lot of knowledge at school.” Giveness says proudly.

Giveness now cycles to school within an hour and another hour to get back home. Instead of taking a journey of six hours, it now takes her just two, and she does not miss out on any lessons because she is always on time and no longer constantly tired and sore. Thank you, sponsors, for making this possible!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

A Person of Great Importance

Author Portrait_Kelvin Mulenga, Information and Communications Officer
Kelvin Mulenga

Information and Communications Officer

Save the Children in Zambia

April 27, 2017

Walking along one of the paths in a small community called Nkana, I cannot help but notice the very jovial little girl who smiles despite needing a wheelchair. I am curious about her, and my curiosity leads me into a discussion with her and her mother, Rose.

I learn that this child is Celine, a 12-year-old girl and third grade student at one of the Sponsorship-supported schools in Lufwanyama. She is the last born of her family of 12. She tells us she loves fruit and shares her favorites, “I like oranges, bananas and apples because fruit provides vitamins to my body.”

Sponsorship staff member Kelvin and Celine take a stroll.
Sponsorship staff member Kelvin and Celine take a stroll.

Despite her physical challenges, Celine is passionate about attending school. However, like many disabled children, she was not able to go. She suffers from a spinal disease called scoliosis, which crippled her ability to walk. Though her school is just a short distance from her home, without transportation she was forced out of classes for a full year. In addition to her physical struggles, her family also could not afford to purchase school materials like books and pencils.

After being enrolled in Sponsorship, Save the Children field staff began to look for ways to help Celine attend school. They advocated for Celine to gain access to a wheelchair from one of the local churches in the community, to help her get to school. She also received exercise books from her school, provided through Sponsorship funds.

“I love Sponsorship, as Save the Children is now helping my school with a lot of things, and I am given some of these like books.” Celine said with a smile.

Today, Celine is back in school and tells us she wishes to work in an office one day, where she will be a person of great importance, “When I finish school, I would like to work in an office where I should be signing on documents, that they bring to my office.”

Celine back in class and ready to learn.
Celine back in class and ready to learn.

However, her dream will not be realized without her community continuing to embrace the importance in protecting the health and education of every child, as a fundamental human right – that every child is entitled to enjoy learning regardless of their physical abilities.

Save the Children has been implementing its non-discriminatory programs to help children like Celine attain education despite the many hurdles they face in their life. Continue to dream big, Celine, and we will continue to support you!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

 

Witness Your Sponsorship Support in Action

Author Portrait_Victoria Zegler, Multimedia Storyteller
Victoria Zegler

Multimedia Storyteller

Save the Children U.S.

March 21, 2017

Leaving our Save the Children field office, it’s anywhere between a one to two-hour drive to the rural country side where sponsored children live, play and learn. The roads are dusty and narrow. Traveling along these remote roadways, you can feel every bump and dip in the dirt roads. Passing by children along the shoulder on bicycles and motorcycles, I can’t imagine what their journey is like.

As we drive down the lengthy highway, homes become father apart as the distance becomes greater.

Stepping into a classroom in Lufwanyama, Zambia.
Stepping into a classroom in Lufwanyama, Zambia.

As I get closer to the village, I notice the local community in action. Young children, teenagers, many of them, the mothers and fathers of the children we serve, having labored since dawn with nothing but their bare hands and tools made from the country’s natural resources. I admire their dedication, innovation and hard work. They have no one to rely on but themselves to get the job done.

As we approach the school grounds, children slowly peek their heads out of the newly built classrooms. The smile plastered across my face reflects theirs. I can’t wait to meet these incredible children and to show them pictures of their participation in our programs – solving math problems in notebooks and learning to read with new learning materials – all made possible by their sponsors.

And then it dawned on me – there aren’t many mirrors and smartphones here, so many of these children haven’t seen what they look like in months, maybe even years.

To me, it’s more than just taking their pictures, it’s about unlocking raw emotion.
To me, it’s more than just taking their pictures, it’s about unlocking raw emotion.

The children are eager and curious as they approach me, giggling. After taking their picture, I show the children and big, unfiltered laughter ensues.

To me, it’s more than just taking their pictures. It’s about unlocking the raw emotion deep down inside of them. Showing the happiness on their faces as the corners of their eyes begin to wrinkle. I admire their strength and resilience through the hardest of times. Their hope and hard work for better life. These children instill hope in me every day with their big ideas and willingness to learn. They give me faith in myself, my organization and – most importantly – in humanity.

The moment I see the smiling faces of those children, nothing else matters.

A memory that I will always remember: the excitement that broke out over stickers. The children flocked to me with their arms reaching out at the chance to collect a sticker. I watched the children place them on their hands, faces and their friends faces laughing all the while. This simple gift from generous sponsors made their day – and mine too.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.