Where Zacharia grew up, in the wards of Kitwe, lives can take a dangerous turn at a young age. Primary education in Zambia may be free, but the fees required from grade 8 onwards are a cost too far for many families — particularly those affected by affected by HIV and AIDS. For the children kept outside of school, the lure of gangs and crime can all too often fill the educational vacuum. Zacharia believes strongly that this could very easily have been his path. “I would have joined any of the many local gangs”, he says now. “My dreams would have been completely shattered.”
While his dreams are not yet fulfilled, Zacharia’s life has taken a different and better path.
Zacharia’s need for support was identified by Cecily’s Fund in 2008 and he was helped with the payment of fees charged at grade 8. Attending Mitanto Secondary School, he already believed that education was the key to his future. He avidly attended anti-AIDS clubs run by the Peer Educators trained by Cecily’s Fund and our partner CHEP; upon successfully completeing grade 12 Zacharia was invited to train as a Peer Educator himself.
“I was more motivated, had higher self-esteem and was also knowledgeable about sexual health”, Zacharia says of his time as a Peer Educator. His experience with the programmes of Cecily’s Fund continued, as he moved from delivering sessions on comprehensive sexual education to becoming a Fresh Start trainer. In this role, he helped young people in Wusakile and Chimwemwe learn vital financial management skills, so that they might better prepare themselves for a self-sufficient life after education.
Now, Zacharia is once more planning his own future. By attending a Sunshine Club, organised through our Connecting Communities programme, he was able to meet Zambian music producer Tonny Breezy. This inspirational meeting reignited Zacharia’s passion for music, to the extent that he is now registered as an artist with the Zambia’s National Arts Council and plans to release an album in the summer of 2018.
To Zacharia, one of the most important aspects of the support he has received from Cecily’s Fund is the impact it has had on his family. He is now in a position to support his siblings with their own goals, and is confident that the family are in a much stronger position thanks to the intervention of Cecily’s Fund and our donors.
Cecily’s Fund believes strongly that in Zambia, education is the best means to break the cycle of povety for individuals like Zacharia, their families, and their communities. For over two decades, we have been raising money in the UK in order to implement life-changing programmes in Zambia — from providing access to education to the training in sexual health and business skills that are vital to building a safe and self-sufficient life.
By donating to Cecily’s Fund you are helping to make this crucial interventions possible; together, we can provide Zambians with the opportunities they deserve, and transform lives like Zacharia’s for good.
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Cecily’s Fund is a small, professional international development charity which supports Zambian orphans and vulnerable children access education as a route out of poverty. We work through 3 Zambian partner NGOs who implement our programmes locally which are funded through a range of income streams comprising Trusts and Foundations, individual donors, events, schools and churches.
This exciting post offers an experienced Senior Fundraiser the chance to make a significant and vital contribution to the work of this dynamic and growing organisation. The post involves creating and implementing fundraising strategies across a number of income streams. Responsibilities include writing high quality applications to grant-making trusts and foundations, research and development of new prospects, writing reports on programme outcomes for the purpose of grant compliance and accountability to funders, whilst managing and driving forward individual giving, corporate support and school fundraising.
Cecily's Fund would consider this role in a full-time, part-time or job share capacity. For further information and a full job description, please contact us. The closing date for this role is Friday May 4th.
In Zambia, 46% of the population is under 15 years old. There are sometimes few adult role models, and opportunities can be scarce — particularly for children who are out of school.
Cecily’s Fund is working to change this. Through our Connecting Communities programme, funded by Comic Relief, we’re giving young people in Kitwe the chance to gain skills, opportunities, and a better future. One of the ways we’re doing it is with the beautiful game itself — Zambia’s beloved national sport, football.
Kitwe, in Copperbelt Province, is a hotbed of football talent. Two of its elite clubs, Power Dynamos and Nkana, regularly feature in the top flight of Zambian football. Sunshine F.C. is a very different kind of team, however.
Founded in 2016, the club recruits all of its players from children in the area who are out of school. It is a project of Kwacha Sunshine Club, which founded the team: Sunshine Clubs themselves are special associations funded through Connecting Communities to boost opportunities for young people.
Sunshine Leader Michael explains that in addition to competing in local amateur leagues, Sunshine F.C. also “ use football as a tool to communicate many issues affecting youths in our community such as early pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, crime in the community, sexual and reproductive health.” They’ve reached well over 200 young people with this vital information.
With help from our partner organisation CHEP (the Copperbelt Health Education Project), Sunshine F.C. were able to get some special training from both Power Dynamos and Nkana. With their newfound skills, the team became runners-up in a major local competition.
So successful was this new team that no less than 13 of its players were picked up by more established sides. Upon signing contracts, the young and talented players were able to bring much-needed income into their households. For its part, Sunshine F.C. is working hard to recruit new players, become formally established and to sustain itself over the long term.
Securing success on the pitch; bringing income to its players; and spreading the word about vital health issues. With these three goals, Sunshine F.C. has helped Connecting Communities rack up a big win over poverty in Copperbelt Province.
Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day - a special chance to celebrate the vital contributions women make to all societies, and to take a stand against the injustices that hold women back.
In Zambia, as in all societies, women have had an important historic role and continue to have an essential impact on all walks of life. However, women and girls in Zambia are harmed by significant inequalities in rights and opportunities. This is often particularly true for girls, in a society where 46% of the population is under 15 years old.
Graça Machel memorably said that "if you want to break the cycle of poverty, educate a girl." Our mission is to alleviate poverty in Zambia, and we know from our two decades' experience that a girl who is helped to enjoy her right to education can build a brighter future for herself, her family, and her community.
For this reason, gender has always been a key consideration in the way we plan and implement our work. Together with our partners, we have run special entrepreneurship sessions for girls; used Peer Education to caution against early marriage; and supported 900 girls in Chingola to stay in school through our DREAMS programme.
There is so much to do in Zambia to achieve the goal of gender parity - the theme of this year's celebration. Girls still have lower literacy rates than boys, many girls are made to marry early, and 47% of women have experience violence in their lifetime. This International Women's Day, we re-affirm our commitment to do everything we can to help Zambia's women and girls secure a safer, more independent, and more prosperous future. We're very grateful to all of our supporters, and hope you will continue with his on this journey.
|Location||Kasompe, Chingola, Zambia||Respondent|| Rebecca Namfukwe
Even with government-subsidized school fees, it is not easy for most parents or guardians to support children in government schools in Chingola. This is a story of Rebecca Namfukwe, grandmother to Memory, an orphaned grade 8 girl at Kasompe Primary School.
Memory’s parents died when she was a baby. She was then adopted by her grandparents. They have since been sponsoring her education. But with the financial constraints faced by most parents and guardians in Chingola, especially due to high unemployment levels, it hasn’t been easy. Memory’s grandfather is a charcoal burner who produces and sells charcoal for a living. Rebecca also sells vegetables at a local market to make ends meet.
In having such a constrained household income, Rebecca says it has not been easy to save money for Memory’s school; the little income she has is only enough to feed the family.
According to the respondent, most girls in her area drop out of school before the eighth grade, usually due to lack of sponsorship. Rebecca says, some girls have to travel long distances (about 1½ hours walk) to access a school in a town area every day. These girls usually find it hard to continue schooling and drop out.
In 2016, Memory, passed her grade 7 exams, but unfortunately, there was no money for her to report to school, to grade 8, early this year (the start of secondary education). She stayed home for months, despite having received her admission letter. Memory ended up spending most of her time selling charcoal and vegetables at the market instead of being in school.
With the coming of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge project by Cecily’s Fund-Afya Mzuri, funded by PEPFAR, this all too common story is slowly beginning to change. There is now hope for girls like Memory, and also for their parents and guardians.
Rebecca has expressed gratitude for the extended mentorship that the project has offered to the girls. She says that through the Comprehensive Sexual Education and life-skills programs that the girls have undergone, she has already noticed changes in her grandchild’s personal and school life. With a bright smile and enthusiastic voice, Rebecca explained that her granddaughter’s tendency to fool around with friends who were not a good influence on her, has reduced tremendously, therefore giving Memory enough time to study.
Rebecca said that the girl is more careful about who she includes in her circle of friends which, to her, is a sign of improved decision making and assertiveness. Rebecca added that, before the girl was enrolled in the DREAMS project, Memory used to spend a lot of time at the market selling charcoal for the family and playing with friends who had a negative influence. She says that now Memory is back in school, she has a better choice of friends, improving her school performance.
Apart from the positive impact that the project has had on Rebecca’s granddaughter, together with many others, Rebecca says that her own life has also improved. After both Rebecca and Memory attended ‘Fresh-Start’ entrepreneurship skills training in July this year (2017), Rebecca says that she now has better skills to run her own business more efficiently than before. She says that she has improved her saving and accountability skills, giving her hope that she can grow her business in future. This, she says, gives her hope to better her household livelihood in the near future.
Rebecca and her granddaughter will also be amongst the first 450 girls and guardians in the project, to benefit from business equipment
given to them as part of a package of sustainable livelihood and education support. Rebecca says that this means that the young girl’s dream to become a nurse and probably the family’s breadwinner, has been re-lit.
Granddaughter’s dream to become a nurse has been re-lit through getting back into education
She also says that she has already seen a change towards positive attitudes and behaviour of her fellow guardians who attend the ‘REFLECT’ group meetings. Formed early this year as a key element of the programme, REFLECT groups (of 30 parents) aim to improve the perception of the value of education, through adult literacy and proactive participatory identification of solutions to local socio-economic issues.
According to Rebecca, through REFLECT, parents and guardians show a positive attitude to girls’ education as they can better relate the importance of parenting to a child’s education. She said that, already, one could easily see the difference in behaviour between parents who attend REFLECT sessions and those who don’t.
As chairperson of the Parent REFLECT group for Kasompe, and being a good community mobiliser, Rebecca aims to continue supporting the project’s efforts in helping the girls achieve their goals and make their community better.
Rebecca recognizes that, thanks to PEPFAR through DREAMS, not only does she have sponsorship to keep Memory in school, but with improved educational support and entrepreneurship training, she is likely to keep Memory in school beyond the project end.
Quotes from the respondent:
“I wish this project (DREAMS) a long life so that its intended purpose will be realised fully. If the project will not continue, the impact so far made will be compromised.”
Cecily’s Fund takes very seriously the issues of child protection and accountability. We work in Zambia, where many children and young people are vulnerable – for this reason, it is all the more important for us to have in place robust procedures to protect the individuals and communities with which we work.
We have an extensive child protection policy which sets out the duties of our staff, our partner staff, volunteers, trustees, and consultants. It also contains a code of conduct, communications guidelines, and a formal plan for reporting suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.
Each of our Zambia-based partners has their own policies in place in accordance with their duty of care. Additionally, Cecily’s Fund is a member of Keeping Children Safe, a global network of 77 organisations committed to protecting the world’s most vulnerable children from exploitation and abuse.
Cecily’s Fund believes that it is essential that we are accountable and transparent both to the communities we serve and the donors who make these interventions possible.
We continue to review and apply our child protection and accountability procedures both in the UK and in Zambia, to ensure that we live up to our belief in respect and dignity for all.
Our latest newsletter has no less than three exciting features fresh from Zambia. These include a piece on supporter Alastair Ramsay, who visited Zambia in December and shares his thoughts (and photos) on the inspiring work of our partners BISO. Also in the newsletter:
- An interview with Cecily's Fund alumnus Melissa about her brighter future after education
- An interview with Roy Mwilu, Executive Director of our partners CHEP
- An update on our Christmas Challenge 2017, including the final total raised
- A story on the impact of our exciting DREAMS programme in Chingola
- "Spirit of Adventure: a look at some of the amazing sponsored events available in 2018
We hope you enjoy the newsletter! Look out for additional issues in May, September and October and be sure to contact us with any comments or queries.
Forthcoming AFCF Events
Recent AFCF Events
Presentation at St. John's University, New York (April 6th 2017)
On April 6th, our Development Officer Sue Skaf gave a presentation about Cecily's Fund to a freshman class at St.John's University in New York, upon the invitation of AFCF's new Board member Professor William Reisel. Professor Reisel encourages all of his students to work and fundraise for the community, particularly for disadvantaged children. The class presented Sue with $485.00 which they raised at a recent bake sale to benefit our students in Zambia!
AFCF Directors' Workshop, New York City (March 14th 2017)
AFCF Board Meeting, New York City (December 2nd 2015)
AFCF Directors' Workshop, New York City (November 15th 2015)
Pub Quiz, New York City (April 22nd 2015)
AFCF was a sponsor at the British American Business (BAB) Pub Quiz in NYC. This popular event combines the traditional atmosphere of a British pub night with a unique opportunity for networking! AFCF’s team Zambia 2015 took part, in the spirit of friendly competition! A great way to promote our work in Zambia to BAB membership!