Our partner, Reformed Church of Zambia - Diaconia Department (RCZ-DD), is a Christian agency working to serve poor communities in justice and with compassion.
Isolated, agricultural communities in eastern Zambia.
How Child Sponsorship works here
Along with representatives from the village leadership, church, local schools as well as parents and children, RCZ-DD helped establishing famers' groups, mothers' groups and children's clubs. These groups are supported through a network of agricultural, health and general volunteers from the community, who receive training and on-going support from RCZ-DD. The volunteers help RCZ-DD to reach a larger number of community members whilst building the knowledge and skills of local volunteers who will remain in the community after the project ends.
The children's clubs are an important part of the program, as they allow children to contribute their ideas, and be part of implementing activities and reporting back on the impact of the program.
In the children's clubs, the children are learning about issues identified as important by the children themselves and the community volunteers. At the moment, the children's clubs are focusing on health and sanitation, as well as the importance of education. The children from the clubs encourage other children to go to school, and are actively helping them with their school work. The school teachers say that class attendance is improving since the child clubs started!
The children are learning through sport, drama and singing, and love being part of the group. Parents and teachers are noticing how their confidence is growing. Older children are receiving some skills in small business, and a group of older boys have started a beekeeping business. With the support of their parents these boys applied to become affiliates with the Zambia Honey Council, who will buy their honey!
With support from RCZ-DD, the community has established a committee to help support the children’s clubs and advocate for the rights of children in their communities. Members of these committees have been influential in raising awareness about how cultural practices might need to be altered to ensure that girl children do not miss school. So far, a number of families have already changed the times and days of the cultural activities so that their daughter does not miss any school.
Agricultural Volunteers have established model farms as a teaching tool. These are helping local farmers learn about environmentally friendly farming methods, diversifying their crops and increasing yields, to better provide for their families.
RCZ-DD is also working in partnership with the local government health post to identify children under five years old who are malnourished. The mothers of these children participate in mothers' groups that are supported by the health volunteers to increase their knowledge of healthcare, children's nutrition and how to grow and cook local varieties of vegetables for the family.
James, a sponsored child in Zambia
When James was 13, his father died. If this wasn’t bad enough, after the funeral people took advantage of his mother’s situation, and took their land - their home and all their property were gone. James and his siblings stopped going to school. It fell to James to take care of his mother, and his brothers and sisters. “I did not know anything concerning children’s rights and how God values children, I was not going to school and life was just miserable for me.”
When RCZ-DD started the program in James’ community, he learned that what had happened to his father’s property was illegal. He went to the local authorities and successfully petitioned to have his father’s land and property returned. There is hope for a better life for James, now 15. “I am back in school and I am learning more of children rights. I am happy now! I want other children to be helped to go back to school and those who have lost their property to be helped too.”