In Chipata in Zambia’s Eastern Province, one in every six children are orphans.
Without parental care, many children grow up in dire situations with little hope for the future.
Our Family Strengthening Programme in Chipata supports vulnerable families to stay together, but where this is not possible and children are left alone, we ensure that they can grow up safely by creating new families.
Opened in October 2012, SOS Children’s Village Chipata offers a loving home for 140 children.
Thirteen SOS mothers care for children until they reach independence, ensuring that they can grow up safely and develop into responsible adults. Vulnerable children from the local community are gradually being identified and settling into the Village.
So far, 79 children with no one to care for them have moved into their new homes, and they will soon be joined by many more. Clare Mulenga-Chilambo, the Village Director in Chipata, says of the first children who have arrived: “The children are mostly orphans whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS-related diseases. We also have cases of children whose mothers are mentally disturbed and one case of an abandoned baby.”
Clare says that with the support of SOS mothers and staff, children are settling in quickly: “In time the children will come to recognise the Village as their home – a normal family environment.
We appreciate that the children have had a very difficult start in life which is why SOS mothers will be able to ensure that the children are well treated and cared for.” New beginnings Following the death of both of their parents, five-year-old twins Thomas and Jacob* were growing up with their elderly grandmother.
She was not in a position to care or provide for them and the boys’ health was suffering. Thomas and Jacob were amongst the first group of children who moved into SOS Children’s Village Chipata in October 2012.
The boy’s SOS mother is Mwandia, 52, a local woman who grew up on a farm in Chipata. With three biological children of her own, Mwandia is an experienced mother with a passion for childcare. She has lived a privileged life and feels that she is now in a position to help orphans like the twins, who have had such a difficult start in life.
Family from CV Chipata When they first arrived at the Children’s Village, Jacob was very unwell with clear signs of malnutrition. With the support of the new SOS Medical Centre located on the Village site, Mwandia has been able to gradually nurse Jacob back to health.
By providing a good home-cooked diet, he is fast becoming a lively young boy. He still refuses to eat the carrots his SOS mother cooks for him though, despite her best efforts!
The twins are gradually being introduced to their new surroundings, having never experienced flushing toilets or a television before. They are looking forward to having even more friends to play with in the coming weeks, as their SOS brothers and sisters gradually arrive.
Soon, they will attend Damview Primary, a community school recently extended and refurbished by SOS Children. With Mwandia's support, and the opportunities now available for them, the boys are able to grow up safe, well and with hope for the future.