Zambia is a peaceful country in the midst of many unstable bordering countries. Compared to many of its neighbours, Zambia has a reputation for a relatively efficient and transparent government. Zambia is the African continent’s biggest copper producer, and the economy has been dependent on this resource for decades. In the 1990s, the price of copper crashed due to a lack of investment. People flooded to the slums outside the cities and the number of people living in dire poverty quickly increased. Throughout the 2000s, the copper mines became privatised, and the economy is once again booming. However, the need for a diversified economy remains.
For the most vulnerable people living in the poorest communities, many basic essentials are scarce, and families have no choice but to resort to drastic means of survival. 41% of children are subject to child labour to help provide for their families. With less emphasis placed on education, girls become especially vulnerable. 42% are married by age 18 and 34% give birth by the same age. An alarming 61% of adolescent females (age 10-19) justify being beaten by their husbands.
Access to basic health care is also a serious crisis. 46% of children suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. In the poorest communities, the local clinic is often further than 30 kilometres away. Zambia has the fourth highest rate of people living with HIV in the entire world. All eight of the countries Hands at Work serves in are within the 22 priority countries identified by UNAIDS, a United Nations program, in their Global Plan to focus on eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive. However, only 9% of children in rural areas, and 28% in urban, are registered at birth, making tracking and providing access to any available services difficult.
For Hands at Work, the location of Zambia is a great advantage. In Zambia, international volunteers and African Leaders live together in a multi-cultural Christian community at Kachele Village. Here, many new key African leaders are being developed. Three other countries that Hands at Work serves border Zambia, enabling support to these more unstable and rural countries as a result of the relative stability in Zambia.
We envision the local church in Africa effectively caring for the dying, orphans and widows, and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa.
Orphaned children (age 0-17): 1,400,000
Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS: 600,000
Under 5 mortality rating (per 1000 live births): Female – 82 | Male - 93
Secondary School Attendance:
Female – 44% | Male – 47%
People living with HIV: 1,100,000
Life expectancy at birth: Female – 50 | Male – 49
Lifetime risk of maternal death: 1 in 59
Population below the international
poverty line: 75%
Country rating (out of 187) on the Human Development Index: 141
– Sources: UNAIDS, UNDESA 2014, UNICEF 2014
My first experience on a Holy Home Visit was back in 2013, on a team to Swaziland. I didn’t know what I was walking into, but it drastically altered my understanding of who God is. I saw God move, not only in the lives of the people that I had the privilege of visiting, but in my life too.
At Hands at Work, our volunteers are called by God from all over the world to serve the most vulnerable in Africa. Each of us has a unique story of how we were transformed when we stepped out in faith and were obedient to His call. Trina shares her story and the journey that has led her to fully trust and serve in her local area in Zambia.
Lisa and Brian Dalley have been volunteers for Hands at Work since 2008. They started in Canada serving for the Hands Canada office and came to serve long term in Africa in 2015. They are currently living at the Kachele Village in Zambia where Lisa serves with teams and supports Team Kitwe and Brian does building, construction and HR.
“I planted 12 meda* of soya beans, I expected to harvest 18-20 x 50 kg bags. I only harvested 2 bags.”
“I planted 20 kg of maize seed, I expected to harvest 60 x 50 kg bags. There is no harvest; the rains just did not come after I planted.”
“I planted 15 kg of maize seed. From planting the same amount of seed last year, I harvested 32 x 50 kg bags. This year I only harvested 12 bags.”
As the International Church seeks to participate in God’s transforming work in Africa, God is also using Africa to stir up the International Church, as individuals stand up to care for the vulnerable in their own communities.
Care Workers are the key in bringing healing and transformation to the lives of our children. They are men and women from the local churches within our communities who recognize their Biblical mandate and answer their call to care for the most vulnerable children. They demonstrate what it means to give freely, love unconditionally, and sacrifice everything. Often, Care Workers face their own traumas and live in dire poverty, just as the children they care for do, but their determination to persevere and care despite their own circumstances challenges everyone they come into contact with. They are greatest in the Kingdom of God!
Moses’ life is a miracle! His very existence speaks of the faithfulness of God and the loving compassion shown by the Care Workers of Zimba Community Based Organisation (CBO). Hilda, the Zimba coordinator, together with Charles, a local volunteer Care Worker, call Moses ‘the first child of Zimba CBO’.
After losing her father, Trina* was sad and confused. She struggled to cope with his death and her pain became deeply entrenched in her heart. When a new step-father came into her home, he rejected Trina as a daughter. This further loss created more inner trauma and Trina withdrew from those around her
Blessings Sambo has served with Hands at Work for many years in Zambia. As a pastor, Blessings has personally witnessed the challenges and triumphs of the local church. Today he serves as a leader with Hands at Work and supports our volunteer Care Workers throughout DRC, Malawi and Zambia.
Growing up without a father is a common experience for many children in Zambia. Innocent is one of these fatherless children. Like many boys in Zambia he dreams of becoming a pilot, flying away to places he has only heard of, places that do not reflect the dire poverty in Kalende.