SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
A LIVINGSTONE-based non-profit organisation, Family Hope Foundation (FHF), is supporting 230 Grade Seven female pupils who are orphans and vulnerable with some school requirements.
Programmes officer Chilufya Chisenga said the organisation realised that most girls drop out of school in grade seven adding that the project aims to ensure that the girls stay in school and progress to secondary school.
“These girls are between 12 and 18 years old and, as FHF, we only provide books, uniforms and other school requirements but we do not pay their Parent Teacher Association (PTA) fees,” he said
Mr Chisenga said in an interview recently that the households where the girls come from also benefit from the programme as they are introduced to income-generating activities so that they can sponsor their children with secondary education.
“Our focus is to ensure that these girls go to secondary schools but their homes should also have a safety net so that these girls go to secondary school,” he said.
Mr Chisenga said all households where the girls come from belong to saving groups which run income-generating activities.
“There are 230 households in the project and they belong to 10 saving groups which have between 20-25 members each,” he said.
He said all the groups are encouraged to venture in a business to enable them to sponsor children up to secondary school and beyond, when the project phases out.
“The saving culture in Zambia is bad. Some children drop out of school because of lack of funds. That is why we are also looking at economic strengthening for households that are taking care of orphans and vulnerable children,” he said.
He said Government is focusing on educating girls and that FHF is also committed to supplementing Government’s efforts.
Mr Chisenga said educating the girls will protect them from vices such as early marriages and pregnancies.
“We are focusing on helping their homes because foster care is now being discouraged. The girls are also sensitised on various social issues such as HIV and AIDS issues, and financial literacy,” he said.