Sobornost For The World Foundation has been working steadily to help children who were left orphaned by their parents who died from HIV/AIDS. Sub-saharan Africa was devastated by this pandemic and millions of orphans were left with no one or no way to attend school. It is people like our directors, Luka and Alice in Zambia, who have changed this for hundreds of orphans. Their devotion to the orphans has continued with us for 15 years and they have become the pivotal point of grace for so many children in need.
Children come to our programs sometimes at a very young age. When they enter the program, they meet with Alice with the guardian of that child, and plans are made for the particular school that the child will attend. After being accepted at the school, the guardian receives the amount required by that school for uniforms and a backpack and receipts are given to Alice. Each year after that, the child receives whatever is required to continue in each grade.
When the child begins secondary school, the fee for each student will be approximately $150-300 a year depending on the school, and uniforms are in addition to this amount.
We are so proud of these students who have graduated high school and some have even been able to find funds for college. Some of them shown here are in nursing, some married with children starting out with a new business, some caring for siblings and a few still trying to get into college.
Their grades in high school were so good that the colleges can grant them scholarships. Meeting them now as young adults starting out is the greatest joy anyone could know in a lifetime!
Bernadette is graduating December 2017 with a diploma in Agriculture-Crop Science Major from the University of Zambia, Natural Resources Development College. We're so proud of you!
The September 2017 trip to Zambia was filled with so many touching memories shared by the present group of orphans we have in our programs. It began with a Mass to celebrate 15 years of supporting orphans in this area, followed by a banquet decorated so beautifully in the church hall. Much gratitude to Alice who worked very hard with her team to have everything just perfect and lovely for the occasion.
The students had prepared a program for us of singing, poetry and a surprise play that illustrated how an orphan sometimes suffers in a home where he or she may be a burden to the family. The play showed a well-to-do family with parents and two children who have all their needs met.
The orphan is given the job as a domestic slave and doesn't attend school because there are no funds and then some neighboring children share how Sobornost For The World Foundation was able to help them attend school. The orphan/domestic slave is then given an opportunity to apply for this help and the play ends on a joyful note. It was a very touching moment for us.
In a different part of Zambia further north, called Kalulushi, we sent the many donated items for the orphans living there in group homes of the Baptistine Sisters. The items they are showing here are some of those gifts; clothing, crayons, bandaids, flipflops, pencils and coloring books. Also given to them were children's medicines, toothbrushes, toothpaste and a few other items.
We want to thank all our friends who gave gifts to these children. Our suitcases were so full we had to take another case! Each of these children and those above, received lots of needed items to help them on their journeys.
Back in Lusaka, we visited the Kabwata Cultural Center where all the artisans sell their wares. Above you see them proudly amongst their products and the hut they are in is pictured at the top of the page. Because half of our mission is about Fair Trade and advocating for it as a way of doing business in a fair way to workers, caring for the environment and being sustainable, I took the chance to meet with artisans who knew nothing about Fair Trade. My talk to them was about how to learn more by going to particular websites, how they could be better paid, how they might find a more sustainable way to work. Being in the Kabwata Cultural Center, run by the government of Zambia as a tourist attraction, is a good place to sell your goods, but it can be slow at different times of the year for them as in any tourist area and there is a cost to have your space. They needed to know how they might find other ways to sell their beautiful products and I took the opportunity to share that good news with them. They took notes!