Above: Mary and her fellow boarders in their school uniforms in the Girls House of Hope Foyer.
Today is International Day of the Girl Child. On this day we recognize the needs and challenges that girls face while empowering them to fulfill their potential and exercise their human rights. Girls are the most vulnerable members of Zambia’s society. This is why African Vision of Hope built the Girls House of Hope.
On March 1, 2019 the Girls House of Hope celebrated its grand opening. Mary and her friends cried tears of joy as they walked into the only home they have ever known. She wept when she saw she had her very own bed. Her room is named the “Peace” room, after the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5.
Zambia has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world. The disease has left 1.2 million orphans behind in its stormy path. Extended families are overwhelmed and powerless as they are raising nieces, nephews, community children, and grandchildren. Forgotten little ones are forced into the street to beg, resort to prostitution, or trafficked as child laborers. Mary was twelve when she began living in the streets.
“I would sleep in the dirt on the streets and collect water bottles to sell. I never bathed, and people called me a pig. Many of my friends who lived there with me have now died.”
Mary started attending church in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. The church youth leader brought her to the African Vision of Hope office and she was enrolled and became one of the first girls to be accepted into the Girls House of Hope. She is now fifteen years old and has a safe home, goes to school every day, and has a family of sisters and a house mother. Each girl living in the House of Hope has responsibilities as a family member that includes cooking, cleaning, gardening, washing clothes, and preparing for the next day.
The House of Hope will be able to provide hope, love, rescue, education, and shelter for 90 more girls just like Mary. To be part of their transformation click HERE.