Home / Main Categories  / OTHER Salesian News (not SM specific)  / ZAMBIA: Salesians launch film about support for street children

ZAMBIA: Salesians launch film about support for street children

Salesian Missionary Foundation new documentary “Rescued from the Street”

Don Bosco Children’s Home provides education, counseling 


(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missionary Foundation recently released the new documentary short film “Rescued from the Street” about the work of Salesians with street children in Kabwe, Makululu, Zambia. The focus is on children who are surviving on the streets, forced to beg for food, and sleeping in unsafe environments, and the Salesians who intervene, bringing them to safety at the Don Bosco Children’s Home.

Currently, there are six Salesians working with the Don Bosco Children’s Home, which has upwards of 80 children. There is also a parish, 10 outstations and more than 1,250 youth in primary and secondary school in the Makululu compound, which is the largest and poorest settlement in southern Africa. The home was constructed in 2017.

The children’s lives have been difficult. Volunteer Agata Januszewska explained, “The boys who end up living in the streets are often boys who for some reason or another have been thrown out of their home to beg for their livelihood to bring money back home or because they are not accepted by the family. For example, a mother has a new partner and the partner does not accept children from her first marriage.”

The youngest boy at the home is just 7 years old. He was living on the street like other boys who are begging for money, stealing or using stimulants. Many of the boys get hooked on a glue compound that gives them a high so they can block out their current situation. Drug dealers often prey on the children and make them go earn money.

Jacob Mano, a young boy at the Don Bosco Children’s Home, said, “Life on the streets is hard. Begging for money or something to eat is dangerous. It’s cold and we are hungry. Sometimes we try to light a fire, and the glue helps us not to feel so cold.”

When boys first come to the Don Bosco Children’s Home they are able to eat, wash and receive new clothes. They are also given support, access to counseling, medical care and help to get off the drugs as they prepare to lead a new life.

Structure is one of the hallmarks of the Don Bosco Children’s Home. In the morning, the boys attend Mass, have breakfast and do chores before they attend school. After school, the boys study and are assigned chores such as cleaning their rooms and common areas of the home. Some work in the gardens and others take care of the animals. Their schedules are intense but it teaches them a work ethic, how to get along with others and be a productive part of their community.

Father Irvin Lumano, school principal, said, “There are challenges when boys first start school, especially if this is their first time going to school. We have to get them to level up to the other students. It’s thanks to God and the dedication of the teachers who ensure they get basic reading skills and then assess what level they can join before they are enrolled into the normal class. Sometimes they are assigned to a special class to catch up with the regular students.”

Father Michael Wzietek, rector of the Salesian community and director of the Don Boco Children’s Home, said, “In addition to the primary and secondary school, we also have a professional school where we offer training in culinary arts, computer studies, and welding and brick laying. There are many services available to the boys to help them have hope for the future. There are also times when we are able to reintegrate them back with their families.”

Fr. Wzietek added, “Our plans and dreams are big but they have to be when you see so many children in the streets. We have plans to expand our work in Makululu and the other compound in Cabo so it can become a rehabilitation center and we can rescue even more children.”

Salesians in Zambia provide a range of social development programs and education to aid poor and at-risk youth so they can have a healthy productive life. Early education helps youth gain a foundation to allow them to later advance to skills training for employment. Basic needs are met along the way ensuring youth focus on their education.

Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64% of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80%, 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.



Salesian Missions – Zambia

UNICEF – Zambia

author avatar