The main goal of Salesian life is to help and work for the most vulnerable children who are in need. That’s why in most of the Salesian centres you can find projects devoted to street children. I believe that no one will put it better than St Mather Teresa who once said about helping poor: “ the life not lived for others is not a life”. We all know how destructive live on the street is for youngsters. Luck of love, attention and set of rules, children all around Zambia are losing their life day by day in by smoking , sneezing jenken, and steeling. Salesians now that by showing them loving-kindness approach, being with them might help them to make more reasonable decisions and help them to change their lives.
3 years ago this idea was been put in to the practice by group of past pupils headed by Mr Ignacious …. after the consultation with community Salesian Cooperatoras together with graduate students of Don Bsco Collage decided to organize Street Children Project. The idea is quite simple. Every Saturday Children from Chingolas streets come and spend some time in Don Bosco centre. Of course we all know what is their first need.
During every meeting children are provided with full nutrition meal. Thanks to donors we have been able to provide fear meal once a week since 2017. However feeding program is crucial it is not the main goal of our work. At the beginning of every year we introduce set of rules that not only help us to coordinate program but what’s more important teaches children how to improve their life by following the simple rules. We believe that it can help them to stabilize their life. They know that if they want to participate in the program they have to come at 9:00 hours in the morning to participate in English or singing classes.
After a survey was conducted, it was discovered that there were over 200 children living on the streets of Chingola only.
The Past Pupils went out to sensitize these children that were just loitering around the streets and shopping centre, on the dangers of being on the streets and, the vices that go along with. After sensitization, these children were then invited to come to Don Bosco Youth Centre. There were over 200 children that came to the centre in search of a better life. And, that was the inception of the programme.
The objectives of this programme are as follows:
- Integration of the children back into their families – that is the main objective of this programme.
- Feeding the children to deter them from begging on the street, and for them to have a wholesome meal.
- To sensitize them on hygiene issues and the importance of being healthy, to avoid contracting skin disease such as: scabies, ringworm and also lice.
- Educating them on the norms of life, e.g. sex education, academic lessons as well as the social aspect of life.
- Social interaction e.g. sports and cultural norms.
- Spiritual guidance through talks and Bible study done by Salesians of Don Bosco (SDBs).
The programme entails the following:
- 08:00 Arrival and Registration
- Prayer and Spiritual PEP talks with the SDBs
- Breaking into classes according to age groups
- Sporting games after lessons
- Bath time
- Feeding time
- Closing remarks and dispersing
Challenges that are being encountered in this programme are as follows:
- Limited finances (lack of direct and consistent source of funding to run the programmes efficiently)
- Erratic man power to run the programme because this is being done on a voluntary basis by Cooperators and Past Pupils.
- Increasing numbers of children on the streets due to the escalating poverty levels in homes, in particular, Chingola.
- Lack of a drop-in-centre where these children can walk in any time. On the other hand, it is difficult for the collaborators of this programme to follow up on these children to establish where they are coming from.
- Lack of transportation and other logistics to efficiently and, effectively run this programme.
- Lack of office space for counseling, and the day to day administration of the programme.
COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE PAST PUPILS AND COOPERATORS
The collaboration between the Past Pupils and the Cooperators came about due to the fact that the Past Pupils needed support from well wishers and the Cooperators volunteered to come on board. The Cooperators have been handy in terms of helping in the feeding part of the programme, as well as beefing up the much needed man power to compliment the Past Pupils. The programme has yielded fruit in this partnership and both groups intend to continue complimenting each other for this programme to continue running.