Disabilities are not always visible and can be both a cause and consequence of poverty.

In Zambia there is huge stigma attached to both physical and mental disability and many children with disabilities are hidden away by ashamed families and don’t get the chance to go to school.

In a country with high levels of poverty this represents a considerable challenge for the Government and family networks to provide the necessary support. The services that are available are inaccessible, under-resourced or overly-centralised. This puts children with disabilities at even more of a disadvantage when it comes to schooling. That’s where we step in.

Physical disability

One of the biggest barriers to education faced by children with disabilities are inaccessible school buildings. That’s why we work with schools to upgrade their facilities creating inspiring learning environments that everyone can access.

Many children with disabilities are unable to manage the daily walk to school. In Chiboyla School, Mazabuka, we created a boarding house so they can attend classes on a daily basis. We provide a trained support worker, two house mothers, adaptive equipment and physiotherapy and the children are fully integrated into lessons and playtime.

Mental wellbeing and counselling

Mental health issues are common amongst orphans and vulnerable children. To help them fulfil their potential and break the cycle of poverty we fund front line workers to provide community-based mental health support so orphans and other vulnerable children can build coping mechanisms and self-confidence. These workers train others to provide mental health support, raise awareness to reduce stigma and discrimination about mental health in the community, work with teachers to roll out counselling within schools and engage parents and guardians to support children more effectively at home.

Read our press release to find out more.

Improving participation and resilience

In another initiative, pioneered by our partner Twavwane, team-sports activities are run to help disadvantaged kids build confidence, self-esteem, motivation, organisation and time management through sport. The results have been impressive and has helped children state what they want in life and set goals to achieve their aims.

Read about Eunice’s experience.

Physical disability

A photo to illustrate the work we do to support pupils with disabilities

£1000 can pay for the salary of a house mother.

£500 can provide adaptive equipment.

Mental health support

A portrait of Mpaso Phiri to accompany his testimonial about the support he's received to go to school

£250 can pay the monthly salary of a front line worker counselling at risk children.

Inclusive education

Joseph, 7 years old

“My mum and dad died when I was young so I live alone with my grandmother. Growing up without a parent is a challenge. I walk eight kilometres to and from school and when there’s no food at home it makes it hard to concentrate in class. I only had one pair of trousers but now I’m supported with uniform, shoes and socks and I look like my friends at school. I’m no longer worried about school fees because they’re paid for and even if there’s no food at home I can eat at school. School is important because I’ll get a job and I’ll be able to help myself and my grandmother. I want to become a teacher.”

Mental wellbeing

Diana, 16 years old

“If you ask me if there is anything that makes me happy, I will say nothing makes me happy. There are a lot of things that make me sad. Firstly my mother, her abusive language, character and knowing that she is HIV positive. At times she buys food for my young brother but not me. My mother was raped then she conceived me. This hurts me because I feel this is the reason why she hates me so much. I do not know who my father is. All this hurts me a lot and made me at one point think about not wanting to live anymore.”

Participation and resilience

Eunice, 10 years old 

“I feel happy, confident and strong when I’m playing football. I receive support and encouragement from the team and learn how to manage differences and defeat. Sport makes it easy to make friends and means you’re not lonely.”

Help Change a Child's Future

Your help can support children through primary and secondary school, provide nutritious school meals so pupils aren’t learning on an empty stomach and support those that can through tertiary vocational training. We provide a holistic approach so also provide mental health support and other inputs where needed.

Thank you!

Your support makes a big difference.

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