George Chunga is an eleven (11) year old boy from Chimoto community in Lufwanyama district. He lives with his grandmother in a one room grass thatched mud house. George and his grand mother sleep on the floor using an old empty grain sack , they cover themselves with Chitenge which is a type of cotton fabric. George has natural abilities to do things and he is not the shy type . This was demonstrated when he raised his hand for attention during one of the distribution events for clothes and shoes boxes.
He askek; Madam ! will this distribution of clothes and boxes continue as long as we live? If so what about us children who are HIV positive? What is there for us?”
The question really caught the Director of FOF off guard, so she decicec to visit the boy’ home and see what could be done for the family. This was during the first visit to Chimoto community with the Team Zambia from Canada led by Keith Sparrow.
The house is not strong enough and poses a risk factor, but there is nothing the grandmother can do to improve the situation. For them what is of paramount importance is the shelter. Judging by the poor state of the house, George’s grandmother has lived in that house for same time now.
Note that they were sleeping on the floor by spreading an empty poly bag or sack on the floor and being exposed to the cold.
George is HIV+ and had been diagonised with the virus when he was very young . Apart from George there are other siblings in the home and George is the youngest in the family.
George, despite his condition is a responsible boy, He helps his grandmother by fetching water from the well and keepin the area around the house clean. Thankfully George does not suffer from stigma or discrimination and he interacts freely with his peers.
The pictures below show George drawing water from a well. This is typically a man or woman’s job, but George feels he can do it as well.
When George and his friends want to play soccer they make soccer balls from pieces of cloth and plastic. This takes a lot of initiative and creativity as resource are scarce and, access to modern recreational amenities and facilities are non-existence. George loves soccer and that is how he spends his free time when he wants to relax and or get some exercise.
Everything he and his friends use for recreation is made from typical local materials.
Faith Orphanage Foundation has provided support to George and his family from the beginning when he was first diagnosed as HIV positive. Each time they visited the center they were given some bottle of selenium to take as a nutrition supplement. This helped George to regain his strength and become very active.
This year in 2015 during the distribution of clothes and shoe boxes at the center, George and his family were also remember. They received blankets, food,selenium and clothes. In addition to that, George was also given a soccer ball. These items have made a big difference to the family and other beneficiaries, Thanks to selenium George who was showing signs of being malnourished and stunted, now shows signs of a thriving child.By looking at him today one could not tell that previously George had been critically ill. He now looks like every other health child. George does a lot of household chores including drawing water from a well, which is a big task for an eleven year old child. All this is possible because of the strength and energy that he now has.
George’s grandmother very thankful and appreciative to Faith Orphanage Foundation for helping her family, and keeps saying,”May God continue blessing you Mrs Liyena and the people that send these gifts to your organisation”.
George wants to become a teacher when he grows up. This child and many other children out there regardless of their health status need the support from everyone for for them to be proactive and attain their life goals.
The availability of selenium in George’s home has tremendously helped this boy to attain good health and be both physiologically and mentally sound. FOF will continue to distribute the selenium nutritional supplement to those in need of it like Grorge.
George’s last question was ,”Are you going to continue doing this for me? Meaning ,”Are you going to continue supporting me?”
George is just one example of children who need the support of people and organisations working with children in need regardless of their health stastus.
Let us give every individual (including children) a chance !
Rural Communities of Solwezi and Lufwanyama lack adequate, clean water. They however, use their initiatives to acquire it from either surface water sources (rivers, dams etc) or ground water sources. Surface water, is fetched by the use of buckets while ground water sources include shallow holes from which water is also drawn by using buckets tied to ropes.
Unfortunately, human activities (both domestic and industrial) have polluted a lot of the natural water sources. Many are even drying up due to deforestation (for firewood, farming and building) and poor land husbandry. Consequently, the use of surface water has greatly reduced, unless treated.
High levels of poverty however make water treatment difficult. Hand-dug wells have major problems with respect to quality and periodic drying up. Faith Orphanage Foundation has therefore taken the initiative of sinking bore-holes with the help from friends in Canada. In 2016 eight more centers benefitted from boreholes through this partnership. The availability of the boreholes in the respective centers has excited the communities, especially the implementers who at first thought this would not be realized.
Centres that have so far benefitted are; Tunku, Kapimbe and Mukutuma in Lufwanyama district, Kangwena, Chamakubi and Kasamba in Solwezi district.
- The community members now have a good source of safe clean drinking water.
- They no longer have to cover long distances to the streams and rivers to fetch water
- Water borne diseases like diarhoea, bilharzia and even cholera will be ‘contained’
- Centre backyard gardens for vegetables will be cultivated.
Long Term Benefits:
- The centres will be able to plant citrus fruit trees that will contribute to the centre’s income when fruits begin to yield
- There will be sufficient shade for centre meetings which will be provided by the trees even during the dry season.
“On behalf of the entire communities of FOF family, we say thank you very much. May Amighty God bless everyone involved in sourcing the funds for the borehole project. Blessings.”
The Innovation Platforms for Technology Adoption (IPTA) is among many programmes being implemented by FOF, it seeks to promote livestock rearing in villages or communities.
The communities of Lufwanyama and Solwezi districts of North-Western Province, are depleted of livestock, leading to high deficiencies of meat products which contributes to malnutrition.
As a remedial measure, FOF conducts in-house meetings where various important elements of maximising livestock rarering is discussed. This programme promotes the rearing of free range chickens, goats, and sheep.
Such gatherings or meetings discuss;
- Types of livestock to keep in villages i.e. sheep, free range chickens and goats
- Common diseases and how to over-come them
- How to make feed
- How to construct kraals or chicken houses in the free range chickens, sheep and goats all deserve good housing or indeed clean environment because:
- *livestock health is enhanced,
- *livestock multiply faster
- *livestock is free from diseases.
At such meetings Common diseases and how to over-come, therefore;
Implementers usually are put in 3 groups of eight and each group is allocated 10 minutes to present the findings and counter the findings. In agreement all groups almost have similar findings as:
- either chickens, sheep or goats suffer sleeping sickness.
To strengthen this programme Faith Orphanage Foundation between 2015 and 2016 season introduced a SEED PACK PROGRAMME.
FOF is concerned with food security; the situation has been compounded by high food prices and erratic rains caused by el-nino (the cycle of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial pacific) in recent years. The community demand for food and natural resources has contributed to the challenges in communities of Solwezi and Lufwanyama districts.
“I am a mother of over 50 children. If you want to marry me, you should be ready to be their father.” That is what young Faith, in her early twenties and fresh out of nursing school told, Kaumba Liyena, the man that would become her best friend and confidant. Faith Mukumbo Liyena, founding manager of Faith Orphanage Foundation (FOF) was raised in Kamuchanga, Mufulira on the Copperbelt in a three bedroomed house which was often filled beyond its capacity, sometimes accommodating 16 children at a time. Inspired by former Mukinge Mission Hospital matron, Doreen Ross (now in Canada), Faith has been burdened by the sight of orphaned children roaming the communities. She initially started by taking care of the educational needs of a few children and found herself taking care of more as the years went by. Gradually the concept of establishing a home based facility for orphaned children was cemented in her heart and she founded FOF in 1992.
“While I was working as a nurse at Mukinge Mission Hospital, I took keen interest in knowing who would take care of orphaned children. Whenever I saw a parent die I would go round the villages to find out who was taking care of these children and found that in most cases, their helpless grandmothers were keeping them, simply taking care of their basic needs but the children would mostly be out of school. That spurred me on,” she says. Driven by a passion to care for young underprivileged children’s educational needs, FOF has helped countless children from an initial 25 at inception to well over 4, 000 today “I was amazed that at some point running or purporting to run a non-governmental organization such as ours could be used as a money spinning venture. It broke my heart when I came to learn that some people were taking advantage of others’ misfortune to enrich themselves. Children hold a special place in my heart and that is why, even without any resources I told God that I would open up my home to less privileged children trusting that he would provide the means to take care of them.
My father was Pastor at Kamuchanga Baptist church for many years. My parents had big hearts and I guess that’s where it all begun really. I would pester my parents regarding the welfare of other children and together, we prayed about it and after that, in 1992 established FOF. ”I initially started with 4 children, who I took care of unofficially. I was advised against ‘adopting’ the children but instead to help meet their academic needs while they stayed with their guardians.
This is what I adopted to do from the time that we founded FOF. The number has grown, tthe foundation for over 4, 000 children today.” Faith talks about how FOF helped more than 500 grade 12 pupils last year alone and sent 5 students each year, since 2007, to study as teachers. She talks about the FOF Skills Training Centre in Kitwe which is empowering the ‘children’ with carpentry, tailoring and design, theology, Information Communications Technologies (ICT’s), welding and, basic agricultural knowledge and skills. The center caters for 50 students instead of the projected 30 as intended in 2000. FOF operates 34 centers manned by over 100 volunteers in Northwestern and Copperbelt Provinces. Some of the activities at the centers include the running of women’s clubs at its Solwezi and Mwembeshi ‘stations.’ To celebrate 25 years of operations, Faith says the foundation has set on an ambitious project to plant 25, 000 trees this year. She says children must be taught the importance of trees to the environment so that they can better preserve them. This exercise will be done in partnership with schools, churches and communities. The Silver Jubilee anniversary is meant to be a weeklong affair, starting 6th to 12th August, 2017. FOF to will also celebrate its association with Teen Missions, with whom it has worked Faith Orphans Fund – a Canadian charity. Some of the achievements FOF has recorded over the years include the construction of community schools catering for grades 1-4 in Solwezi and Lufwanyama districts, as well as sinking 15 wells.
“The future looks bright and ambitious for FOF,” she says “We hope to build 2 secondary schools, one each in Lufwanyama and Solwezi to cater for approximately 1, 000 pupils. This is to reduce the distances that the children to cover to access upper secondary education in these areas.
“We have constructed an agriculture college in Malembeka area – Kitwe rural on the Copperbelt. The infrastructure is
in place and all it requires now is the furniture and funds for running costs. It will initially cater for 300 students. “FOF further wishes to intensify its health education program which focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness among others.” Faith has 4 biological children, a girl Nelly 22 and 3 boys Pola 20, Mukumbu 18 and Butemwe 16. She stresses that it has not all been rosy and that FOF has had a lot of challenges including financial as most partners have only met specific needs of the children. But Faith says her bearing trust in God is what gets her through all situations.
To women who are faced with challenges she says, “God has put so much in us, you know what they say about women – we are suppressed but I urge them to soldier on. You are the vision carrier and must at all costs achieve your goals as long as you put your trust in the Lord. You may be going to a particular place, either on foot, on a bicycle or in a taxi, it does not matter, just make sure you get there. That’s the most important thing – to reach your desired destination.”
Faith she remembers with great sadness the deaths of her mother, Evelyn on 6th June, 2004 and her father, Reverend Edwin Mukumbo on 8th December, 2015.
“I was sad when mum passed on but devastated when dad went to join her. I know daughters are supposed to be closer to their mothers but dad was my confidant and a very strong influence in my life. After retiring from pastoral work we worked together at FOF and he was very instrumental in helping the foundation reach the heights that it has done.” The smile returns as she looks forward to FOF’s next 25 years leading to the jubilee year for the organization. “I know the challenge is immense but I trust God will grant us renewed energy and resources to reach out and touch the lives of our lovely children. Our goal is to give an individual a chance; Changing the world one child at a time,” she ends. – Suma Systems.