The Story of CHIBOTE Community
Early in 2009, a woman named Ruth recognised the poor circumstances of many children in Chibote and decided to do something about it. She and four friends began walking through the village visiting orphaned and vulnerable children who would otherwise have no one to care for them. They began visiting a total of 20 children. “I wanted to help them grow the way that God planned for them to grow” Ruth says. “I wanted to open their minds to the fact that things could be different, and I did my best to help them spiritually, physically and emotionally”. These home visits consisted of helping with household chores, assisting with homework, or simply sitting and praying with the child and providing a shoulder to lean on.
Children currently supported: 150
Number of Care Workers: 18
Coordinator Name: MERCY
Distance from Kitwe Local Office: 17 KM
Basic Services Started: 2013
Later the same year, the ladies found a building to provide grade 1 education for the children they had met, in addition to visiting them in their homes. Butemwe Community Based Organisation was born! The teachers knew each of the children’s names, where they lived, and each of their stories. Inspired by their compassionate heart, Hands at Work partnered with the CBO in their efforts to bring hope to orphaned and vulnerable children. Hands at Work provided essential training to the volunteers, teaching them to walk with the children and the importance of providing a parental role for children who would otherwise go without. Ruth became the first CBO coordinator.
In 2012, the CBO was partnered through Hands at Work with an international partner and these children now receive a hot meal, seven days per week and assistance with basic health care and education supplies at the Community School. By 2013, 100 children started to receive these essential services from the Butemwe CBO. Butemwe CBO has undergone a change in leadership in 2016. Ruth has transitioned from being the coordinator to joining Hands at Work in ‘Team Kitwe’, part of the Regional Support Team in Zambia. As a result, Mercy has stepped up as a strong leader, keeping the CBO healthy and well-equipped to care for their 100 children.
In 2016, 20 children were transitioned from the local community school in Chibote into the government school, scoring exceptionally well on their standard entrance tests! Having only one government primary school in the area, which requires passing a standard test to enter, this was very encouraging to the CBO and the teachers in the community school. Plans are well-underway for creating a Life Centre in Chibote. Land has been successfully purchased, toilets constructed, and the Hands at Work local office is currently working to cast the vision of a Life Centre. Pray that this vision will be grasped strongly by all the community and together with the Care Workers, people will take ownership of working towards a Centre to care and support the most vulnerable.
Kakanda* is 10 years old and in grade 1. She lives with her mother, stepfather, and 4 siblings. Her stepfather tries to earn income through small jobs in Chibote, but he never earns enough to provide the family with sufficient food. Previously malnourished, Kakanda is now receiving one daily meal at the local Care Point and is much healthier. Her Care Worker, Mercy, is committed to supporting Kakanda’s family in raising a healthy, educated, and loved young woman.
The Hands at Work office in Kitwe currently supports seven Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Butemwe. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.