ZAMBIA: Clothing Donation Helps Students at City of Hope’s New Primary and Secondary School
(MissionNewswire) Thanks to a recent donation and coordination efforts by Salesian Missions, students at the Salesian-run City of Hope in Zambia have new clothing. The City of Hope encompasses a home for at-risk girls, a community school and a skills training center. Many of the recipients of the donated clothing are new students attending the recently expanded primary and secondary school at the complex.
In May, the City of Hope, run by the Salesian Sisters of Zambia and located in Lusaka, the capital and largest city in the country, opened a new primary and secondary school. The new school building replaced older structures that were no longer suitable to meet the educational needs of the growing student body. The new school will accommodate at least 1,200 students, 400 more than it was able to previously, and will now offer classes through Grade 12. The school’s completion, the result of numerous donors and sponsors, will have better qualified teachers and an overall higher standard of education. The clothing donation is one of many that is helping to make the new school a success.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken its toll on Zambia’s children. More than 20,000 households in the country are headed by children whose parents have died because of HIV/AIDS. Many of these young children are desperate for adult support to help meet their basic needs.
The City of Hope was created to serve those living in the most severe poverty. The vast majority of children attending programs are street children and children who have been abused or are victims of child trafficking. Refugee children and those suffering from malnutrition, lack of education and family deprivation also attend the school.
“Salesians in Zambia are responding to children in crisis through education and social programs that provide for their basic needs and help youth break the cycle of poverty and go on to lead productive lives,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Currently, there are more than 800 students who attend the City of Hope’s Open Community School. Basic education is offered to youth between the ages of 9 and 17 years. Primary school classes make up the first four years after which students take the government’s grade seven examinations. Most City of Hope students do not have the opportunity to attend other schools because of a lack of financial means.
The City of Hope also offers a shelter for at-risk girls that is home to girls referred through the social welfare system, the police and other institutions and organizations. Many have been orphaned and have no place else to go. There are currently 36 girls who live at the shelter ranging in age from 7 to 22 years. The shelter is not an orphanage but rather a safe place for girls to stay while they gain an education and make the transition either to living with other family or to a more independent life. To date, more than 150 girls have received services through the City of Hope’s shelter.
Also at the City of Hope, the Auxilium Skills Training Center provides technical, vocational and entrepreneurship training to young men and women. Close to 100 students attend coursework at the skills training center each year studying subjects such as hotel and catering services, housekeeping, pattern and design and information technology.
Originally started as a school for girls, the City of Hope expanded to accommodate boys and young men after the local community expressed a need. The Open Community School as well as the new formal primary and secondary school offer a feeding program providing high protein supplementary food, which for some students, is their only meal of the day.
“The City of Hope is helping youth in Zambia lay the foundation for a better future,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Donations such as clothing and food help our students be more prepared in the classroom so they are able to focus on their educational pursuits and create a better life for themselves and their communities.”
Salesian Sisters of Zambia – City of Hope
UNICEF – Zambia