Working with carefully selected grassroots, community-based groups in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Zambia, ZOA finds sustainable solutions to help orphans and other vulnerable children access education, giving them the potential to transform their lives. We know that just getting children into school isn’t enough, they need a full belly to concentrate in class, good mental health to fully participate in society and careers advice. Many girls miss out on school because they can’t afford sanitary products. Through our menstrual hygiene management project we have seen girls’ absenteeism halved!
We supply uniforms, books and pay tuition fees. We create inspiring learning environments. We support our school leavers to gain vocational qualifications by paying fees, providing refurbished laptops and encouraging work experience. We break down stigma and provide inclusive access to school.
We seed fund income generation businesses such as chicken and fish farming. The profits allow our partners to support orphans and vulnerable children with food, helping to keep them focused on learning. Village savings schemes help parents and guardians contribute towards their children’s education.
Our focus is on education, but if natural disasters such as droughts and floods or global pandemics like coronavirus affect the communities we work with, we respond. We do whatever it takes to keep children safe and able to continue their education, to transform their lives in the longterm.
Keeping girls in school
Diana, 18 years old
“I was 12 years old when I started my monthly periods. It was very difficult to cope. I was afraid and didn’t know what to do. I thought there was probably something wrong with me and that made me stop going to school, which made me feel very bad.
The Menstrual Hygiene Management training taught me a lot things: good hygiene practices, to have self-esteem, that I can still go to school when I’m menstruating, taking care of myself, how to use reusable pads, and how and where menstruation flow starts from. The difference is that now my attendance in class has improved.
The fact that I’m in class when menstruating makes me feel good because I feel comfortable and free and I can also learn and concentrate. Before I used to miss classes until I finished my period because I didn’t have pads, leading to poor performance in school. But now I’m happy because I have the information on how to take care of myself and I was given reusable pads to be using which can be washed and used again .
What I would say to my fellow girls who are in the same situation is that they should not fear because it’s a normal thing to have periods, to get support and guidance from teachers at school, parents and so on so that they remain in class to learn for a better tomorrow.”
Changing the future
Mike, 25 years old
“My parents passed away when I was eight. I faced a lot of challenges but with the help of others I overcame these. I was supported by ZOA from the age of 15 at Hope and Faith School. It felt like I had parents somewhere doing their best for their child.
Teaching is my passion. I received my degree in Secondary Education at the School of Natural Sciences, Chemistry and Philosophy.
My ambition for the future is to complete a PhD and help others.”
Making sure education is inclusive
Gabriel, 25 years old
“I remember my painful childhood years when everyone saw me as a burden. I didn’t have friends to play with but my grandmother showed me love.
Life was a real challenge for us and I believe that’s why my brothers stopped school and my sisters got married early. I was serious about school because I saw it as my only hope out of misery.
When I completed school I applied for a three year Primary Teacher Diploma Course and was put on ZOA support. I want to become a teacher and help my family and my fellow people with disabilities.”
Providing emergency food parcels
Diana, 13 years old
“I’m not happy because school closed early this term due to COVID-19. At school we used to eat every day, now I’ll not be able to eat three meals a day as my mother isn’t working.
The prices of food and other commodities have gone up so my mother isn’t able to buy food. Even soap is a problem.
I’m HIV positive and am on drugs so I need more food to eat so the drugs don’t have side effects. I’m happy I received food and soap during this pandemic. Thank you very much for the support I really appreciate it.”
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