Chikumbuso, Lusaka, Zambia
|Chikumbuso, Lusaka, Zambia|
|Location coordinates:||15° 24' 29" S, 28° 17' 14" E|
|Executive Director:||Linda Wilkinson|
|Target:||Girls and Women|
|Organization type:||Local NGO (operating at the community level)|
|Sectors:||Economic Empowerment, Education, Elder Women, HIV/AIDS, Microfinance, Single Mothers|
Through education and microenterprise, Chikumbuso creates opportunities and provides hope through education and microenterprise. Their projects include a training program, a school for orphans and microenterprise development.
"Remembering those who have died, remembering where we have come from and remembering to do for others"
First and foremost, Chikumbuso is a support group of widows who have come together to provide each other with emotional and material support. Each woman who joins Chikumbuso is responsible for the other widows, through a mission statement that asks each person to: Remember those who have died, Remember where we have come from, and Remember to do for others. This mission is a crucial component of all the work that Chikumbuso accomplishes in Ng’ombe. In addition to the support group, weekly meetings and trainings, the women have created a micro enterprise crocheting plastic grocery bags into purses, wine carriers and other fashion accessories. This business gives them a stable income and a way to provide for their families with dignity. The bags they make are sold locally at a variety of distribution points including the Chikumbuso store in the compound and sold internationally in stores and sales throughout the US and Europe. The proceeds from the sale of the bags internationally are used to finance the other program activities of the Chikumbuso Project.
These activities include a community school specifically targeting orphans from the Ng’ombe area. The School provides kindergarten through 5th grade education, a free school lunch, a theatre group, Boy and Girl scouts, a drumming troop, two soccer teams and a gospel choir. Most importantly, it provides a safe, positive, clean and nurturing environment for its 275 students. Lacking a strong family structure and a safe place to be, orphans are often extremely vulnerable to predators and to poor choices. Chikumbuso’s compound in Ng’ombe is a unique place of love and support for children who would otherwise be on the streets.
Recognizing that some of the students needed additional support, the Project began a sponsorship program to provide them with food, shoes, clothes, a mattress, school supplies and other items. These children are selected by a committee of widows from the community and are chosen based on their perceived level of need. In addition, once students graduate from the 5th grade, Chikumbuso attempts to match each and every one with an educational sponsorship in order to attend secondary school. The sponsorship covers uniforms, shoes, school fees and school supplies.
Part of remembering to do for others includes caring for those in the community who have no way to care for themselves. The widows of Ng’ombe have taken that to heart and currently provide home based care and support to 20 grandmothers from the community. Most of these elderly women have been left with grandchildren to take care for when their own children have died. With no source of income and often weak from old age, these women are on the very edge of destitution. The love and attention the widows of Ngombe, as well as the material support in the form of food, mattress and other items, go a long way to helping these women take care of themselves.
Finally, the Chikumbuso Project has begun a new venture in micro enterprise, this time targeted at single mothers from Ng’ombe. The Project employed a tailor who gives tailoring classes to 25 single mothers. While they are in class, their children play in the day care provided. Africare donated a Vita Goat to Chikumbuso, which has served to employ 6 single mothers who make soy based products such as soy milk, tofu, roasted peanuts, and peanut butter. These products are sold at local markets and can be purchased at the Chikumbuso compound.