Liu*, is nine years old. In her short life, she has experienced great loss, which is not unlike many other children who have grown up in the vulnerable community of Kambove. After her father passed away, Liu’s mother struggled to cope with the responsibility of caring for her young children. In 2013, she fled the community and left her five children in the care of their great-grandmother, Theresa*. Theresa is in her late eighties and despite her best efforts, struggles to provide for the children’s emotional and physical needs. She farms a small plot of land in the community for food. However, the nearby mines seep toxins and chemicals into the surrounding land, which often results in a poor harvest and for Theresa, not enough food to feed her grandchildren.
In February 2017, Emerance, a dedicated local volunteer Care Worker, from the Maisha Community Based Organisation (CBO) was passing by the fields and noticed four young children working in the field and Liu laying lifeless in her great-grandmother’s lap; helpless and severally malnourished. Emerance acted out of compassion and urgency and took the children directly to the Care Point, so they could receive a meal that day. She knew that if they did not eat, there was a possibility that they would not survive. In the days to come Emerance learned more about Liu and her siblings and shared their story of extreme vulnerability with her fellow Care Workers. All five of Theresa’s great-grandchildren are now attending the Care Point where they receive a hot nutritious meal every day, access to basic health care and educational support.
In September, Liu attended school for the first time. The children not only receive access to these life-giving services, but they are visited on a regular basis in their home. During a visit to the family in July, Theresa shared her gratitude and thanks to the Care Workers for saving the lives of her grandchildren. She recognizes that she could not care for them on her own and without their support Liu may not have survived.