Six-year-old Sipiwe lives with her grandmother in rural and remote Susu*, a community nestled in thick, African bush about 40km from the mining town of Kabwe in Central Zambia. Susu is an extraordinarily poor, under-resourced and spread-out community isolated from Kabwe and its education institutions and health facilities. It takes the residents of Susu about three hours to cycle to town to buy even the most basic of supplies.
But one thing Susu is not lacking in is initiative. Local leader, Sunday, with the aid of a band of volunteer care workers and Hands at Work, birthed new hope for the community: Susu Home-Based Care. In the short few years that the organisation has been running, Susu has started to transform. The community now boasts a profitable hammer mill, a vegetable garden watered with water extracted from the earth through a borehole and the beginnings of a three-roomed school building. (Undeterred by the absence of infrastructure, the community school – run entirely by volunteer teachers – currently has its classrooms in the church building and under trees.)
Sipiwe lived in Zambia’s bustling capital city, Lusaka, some 300km from Susu before she was abruptly uprooted when her parents passed away. Her elderly, fragile yet loving grandmother is doing the best she can to take care of Sipiwe, but her only income is rendered from the vegetables she sells from her own garden. Sipiwe sleeps on the floor at home with only one blanket and often receives very little food at home.
Thanks to a dedicated Susu care worker, Christopher, Sipiwe’s circumstances have begun to take a turn for the better. When Christopher came across Sipiwe, she was enrolled into the organisation’s programme for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Christopher has been a consistent parental influence and encouragement for Sipiwe. He is someone who she can trust, who loves and supports her. Christopher ensures that Sipiwe attends the community school where she receives not only a basic education, but a healthy daily meal too. Sipiwe now has the energy to walk to and from school, to focus on schoolwork with a full tummy and to help her grandmother with household chores.
Though Sipiwe still faces challenges and sadness, Christopher and the other care workers at Susu Home-Based Care, believe that the longer she is in their care, the more she will grow into a healthy, happy young girl.
"No longer will the poor be nameless."
- Psalm 9:18
* Hands at Work, through our model of mobilising and equipping local Christians to effectively care for the poorest of the poor, has been partnering with Susu community since 2004.
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