In 2023 Cecily’s Fund celebrates 25 years of changing young lives in Zambia.
Founded in 1998, we have helped over 50,000 children access education to start a better life. Our work has expanded into local communities, and we now also work directly with parents, women, and carers, to complete a circle of care that wraps around the key points in a vulnerable child’s life, ensuring that they can grow into adulthood with the support they need to thrive.
When Cecily’s Fund formed, Zambia was crippled by HIV/AIDS, with 1 in 20 children under 15 orphaned, exacerbating the poverty families faced and leaving thousands of children out of school because education was not free.
Central to our ethos is that access to education can help to be a route out of poverty. Initially we helped orphans and vulnerable children go to school by contributing to school fees and providing practical support with books, shoes, and uniforms. Now, our work helps to strengthen the communities they live in, creating opportunities for vulnerable youth, especially girls and their mothers, as we strive to reduce poverty and inequality.
Working holistically with communities, we have reached 2,500 parents and carers. The trust we have fostered has enabled us to raise sensitive subjects around period poverty, gender inequality, and disability issues and as a result, better understand the challenges communities face.
In 2022 Cecily’s Fund began working with rural communities in Luansobe where customs, traditions and poverty are deeply rooted. Our 25 years’ experience will help to shape new programmes for these hard-to-reach communities where little external support exists.
The challenges we faced 25 years ago remain. HIV prevalence remains high; Violence against women is common; 18% of children are orphans, and it is still a country of youth where over half the population is under 25.
Education is knowledge and can still be the best way out of poverty.