Can you imagine having 60 roommates?
Sixty African Vision of Hope Chongwe students, including Rachel, banded together and decided not to allow distance to get in the way of their education. One main reason so many children do not attend school in Zambia is because of the great distance – sometimes up to two hours on foot one way – to their school.
It all started in 2014 when 17 kids started renting rooms from a former African Vision of Hope teacher. He came up with this idea when he saw the number of students who were given a space in school but had nowhere to stay. This teacher is building even more rooms so that he can accommodate as many students as possible.
In order to pay their rent and buy the little bit of food they can afford, these roommates perform small jobs such as doing other people’s laundry or building bricks during their school breaks. Most of these students are orphans and have no parents to help them with the cost of rent and food. Sometimes, when money is tight, the only meal they eat for the day is the meal they are given at school. These kids have to provide for each other like a family.
Sandra and Rachel are cousins who live in one room of the apartment and share a twin bed. Their closet is a clothes line that spans the length of the small room. They have been going to African Vision of Hope School for 2 years, but walking the 11 miles to class every day was beginning to take its toll. That is why they joined the group of self-boarding students. When money is tight, they sell their possessions to pay for food. They know that going to school means having a future, and they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get them there.
Worrying about how they will pay their rent and if they will have enough money to pay for their next meal should be the last thing on a child’s mind. African Vision of Hope has been providing emergency food supplies to the 60 kids, but a much more sustainable solution is needed. Will you be the one to relieve the burden from an orphan’s shoulders?