MWAKA LENGALENGA, Lusaka
WHILE some young people may opt to use their time at university to live out their lives in their new- found freedom, 20-year-old Chalanga Mwale has chosen to take up something much more fulfilling by providing shelter to 10 vulnerable children.
She has always been passionate about uplifting the lives of young children and sees her being in university as an opportunity to provide a different reality for less privileged children.
Ms Mwale, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Medicine at Eden University, was born on January 18, 2001, an only child to a single mother.
“I am a visionary and founder of Kusamala foundation. we work with communities to ensure every child is well-nourished, educated and catered for,” she said.
Ms Mwale’s desire to do charity work began in 2019 after visiting an orphanage for children with disabilities and another orphanage called Home of Happiness.
She describes this first encounter as an eye-opener to the plight of vulnerable children in the country.
The experience left her heartbroken after seeing young children roaming the streets and selling assorted items.
This later inspired her to open a foundation that would cater to the needs of children from under-privileged backgrounds.
This experience compelled her to make a difference in any way she could, big or small, and that is how her journey began.
She explains that after her first visit, she felt she could do something to make a difference but that she couldn’t do it alone, so she reached out to a few friends and told them about her experience and how she loved it.
“We thought it was not enough to just take donations because there are a lot of chores to be done,” Ms Mwale said.
She has always found pride in making an impact in the lives of children who are in need.
Ms Mwale was left heartbroken after seeing young children roaming the streets and selling commodities, and this later inspired her to open a foundation that would cater for the needs of children from under-privileged backgrounds.
Her passion of uplifting children led her to start a children’s foundation which she calls Kusamala Foundation. She opened Kusamala children’s home on July 10, 2020, in Matero’s Barlastone Park.
The children’s home accommodates over 10 street and orphaned children to ensure that they do not miss out on their education.
Ms Mwale believes that in order for children to be better adults, it is important that they are allowed to fully live their childhood before they are given responsibilities.
She says it is vital that children should have a sense of belonging and just be children before they are expected to have so many responsibilities.
Ms Mwale was driven to set up a children’s home after she found an 8-year-old boy who was not in school selling vegetables on the street.
She explains that the young boy lived with his mother, who unfortunately had no sight and was only being assisted by her sister.
“So he wasn’t in school, so, after sitting down with his mother and explaining everything about the children’s home, she was more than happy to have her son come to the home,” she said.
Even though she wants to provide a home for the children, her main goal is to keep the children with their families, but in cases where the environment is not conducive for their upbringing, she steps in and takes up the responsibility of raising them.
Through Kusamala foundation, she has been able to identify children that are in need and offers assistance in any way possible by visiting feeding shelters, orphanages and community schools.
Ms Mwale explains that the foundation recently acquired a piece of land in 10 miles area to build a much bigger home that will be able to provide shelter to more vulnerable children.
“Our home provides a different reality for the children. despite the hardships we may face, the home is filled with comfort and love,” she said.
Her foundation has bought building materials such as blocks through a buy a brick campaign that required people to offer support in form of buying a brick at K5. So far, they have managed to buy 500 blocks.
She added that her goal is to build a home in the next three years, as this will help in reducing costs and lift the burden of paying rent.
Ms Mwale holds the view that young people have the power to effect change and urged other young people to help provide solutions to problems in society.
MWAKA LENGALENGA, Lusaka