Gender Gender

YWCA sets up social fund

YOUNG Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) executive director Patricia Ndhlovu interacts with children who are participants of the Safe Space programme in Chitambala village in Samfya district. The programme is funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Department for International Development

YOUNG Women’s Christian Association executive director Patricia Ndhlovu says the organisation has initiated a social fund to help educate vulnerable children.
Speaking in an interview recently, Mrs Ndhlovu said the social fund was initiated last year in September where staff are obliged to give towards the cause.
“Every month, an amount is deducted from an employee’s salary to go towards the fund,” she said.
She said the social fund has seen a number of children attain an education with some going as far as higher institutions of learning.
Mrs Ndhlovu said once YWCA identifies the children, the beneficiaries are mentored and monitored as well as reminded of the importance of education.
While in Chitambala village in Samfya district, YWCA also identified children who will benefit from the fund. The children are between the ages of 10 and 17.
“It is sad to see that some children went as far as grade nine and got good grades but due to financial constraints, they had to drop out of school,” she said.
Headman Chitambala said the children drop out of school because of failure to pay K65 per year.
“Some families cannot even afford to spend a K10 on education and opt to marry off their daughters,” he said.
Headman Chitambala also said some school authorities send children away because they cannot afford to buy uniforms.
But at a meeting of traditional leaders and parliamentarians in Mansa recently, Minister of General Education Dennis Wanchinga made it clear that no child should be sent away from school because of lack of a uniform and that education from grade 1-7 is free.
This followed concerns by Luapula Province chiefs council chairperson Senior Chief Mwewa that besides failure to pay school fees, some children are sent away by the school administration because they are unable to buy school uniforms.

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