This precious boy with an infectious smile is Thabo. He is seven years old and lives in the community of Baraka, Zambia. His favorite subject at school is English, but his greatest love is playing football with his friends, much like a typical boy of his age here in the U.S. However, his life is nothing like that of his peers here. Thabo stays with his father, grandparents and two younger siblings. Thabo's mother is still alive but the family has no contact with her and they are unsure of her whereabouts. In order to provide for the family Thabo’s father does odd jobs in his community, but he is currently not working. Thabo’s father relies on his own parents to support him and his children, yet they are aged and also struggling to make ends meet.
Mwangagal Mbuita, a Baraka Care Worker noticed the way Thabo’s family was living and the daily struggles they had to endure. Mwangagal saw that the father was finding it difficult to care for the three children properly, and was unable to meet their basic needs. Mwangagal also noticed that Thabo was not attending school as he should, and this led Mwangagal to recommend that Thabo be adopted by the Baraka Community Based Organization (CBO).
Since being adopted by the CBO and accepted into the 'Three Essential Services' program, life has changed for Thabo. He now attends the feeding point everyday and enjoys a nutritious meal. Having been encouraged to start school, Mwangagal enrolled Thabo into the local community school, and he is now receiving education, which is making a huge difference for his future. Thabo still faces daily challenges, like having to walk a long distance to school even during rainy seasons. Mwangagal still visits Thabo’s family once a week to help with their chores and encourage Thabo to keep attending school, even amidst the challenges he faces.
Hands at Work supports care workers like Mgwanagal all over Africa to care for the most vulnerable children in their communities. With help from a group of friends in the Chicago area, care workers from Baraka CBO can bring hope to children like Thabo.