IT WAS very disheartening on Friday to hear that Cheshire Home Kabulonga in Lusaka is struggling with various challenges which include lack of transport for the children, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, clutches and other operational costs.
If this was in a remote place, it would have been understandable. But this is in Kabulonga, one of the most affluent areas of the capital city.
Cheshire Homes, which was registered as a society in Zambia with the Registrar of Societies in 1973, primarily aims at improving the quality of life of the people with disabilities.
It is a noble aim by any standards.
Kabulonga Cheshire Homes, which is related to the Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia, is run by Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi. It was opened in 1973 as the first Cheshire Homes in Zambia in order to provide education and rehabilitation services to children with disabilities.
Kabulonga Cheshire Homes takes care of children with different disabilities. Common conditions found in the home are cerebral palsy, talipes, amputations, osteogenesis imperfecta and muscular dystrophy.
According to their vision, they hope to create a society that supports and participates in the affairs of children with disabilities by providing individualistic approach towards attaining improved quality of life.
They endeavour to provide a quality rehabilitation service by working in partnership with Government, community and individual families.
We understand that Kabulonga Cheshire Homes used to get funding from outside the country to run its affairs. But that line of funding has now been closed. It is the reason why they are struggling with their operations. It is the reason why they organised a concert at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Friday. They wanted to raise some money.
The initiative is welcome.
We hope they were able to raise something reasonable.
But even more, what we hope for is for the corporate world to start assisting those in our communities who really need help. And they are many in need. But there are also many corporate entities that are able to help, and should be helping, but they are not.
We cannot have a situation where, despite local firms having the capacity to help, organisation’s like Cheshire Homes and others have to look outside the country in order to run their operations.
Yet, these same local corporations are able to invest huge amounts of money in other activities like football and golf. We are not saying sponsoring these activities is bad, if anything, we want to see an increase in funding for sports. We love our sports. However, the corporate world should not play deaf to the needs of our needy people in our society.
As a people, we have always believed in assisting those in need, even where we do not expect to receive anything in return.
It is our way of life.
That is why a long time ago, we did not have street kids or orphans per se. The extended family was always there to provide assistance, no matter how remote. It is why people say there are no uncles or aunties in an African society.
But we seem to have departed from these norms, and we no longer care about the welfare of our sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers and indeed neighbours. It is each one for oneself and God for all of us. But that is not us. It is not the foundation upon which we have built this nation.
You will find very few people in our society complaining about the assistance we gave to our brothers and sisters in the region when they were fighting for their majority rule. We saw their fight as our own fight and gave them our full support at great economic and even human cost. Even now, we continue providing a home to our brother and sisters running away from war in their countries.
But we have feel regrets. In fact, we are proud that we were and are able to provide support.
In the same way, we would be happy to see the needy in our society being helped. It is not just a social responsibility, it is humane way, which is expected from all humanity.