24 January 2013

A Brighter, Independent Future for Ruth and Her Family

SOS Children's Villages Zambia
A mother and her daughter outside Chipata.
1/24/2013: Before the SOS Family Strengthening program stepped in, Ruth, from Chipata, Zambia, was struggling to survive. Through the support of SOS Children’s Villages, Ruth has established a small business and is providing a better life for her five grandchildren.

Ruth lives in Nabvutika, a shanty town area on the edge of Chipata. After her husband died, she was left alone to care for her five young grandchildren.

In the last rainy season her mud brick house collapsed. Unable to afford repairs, she had no choice but to rent a neighboring property. Her low income, coupled with few job opportunities, she could only afford a one-roomed shack for her family of six to live in. The house has no electricity or running water, and Ruth has to trek to a communal standpipe to fetch the water.

SOS Lends a Helping Hand

When Rosalia, an SOS social worker from the Family Strengthening program under the umbrella of SOS Chipata, first met Ruth, her husband had just died. Ruth was herself suffering from an illness and struggled to make ends meet. She could barely feed her young grandchildren, never mind send them to school. For Ruth, the future seemed like a grim prospect.

The Family Strengthening program gave Ruth a start-up pack of dried beans which she began selling to her neighbors. She reinvested her profits into charcoal, a more profitable trade. Now, she has diversified into making fritters as well.

As part of the program, Rosalia is teaching Ruth and her neighbors basic accounting and marketing skills. Learning these skills will help them to run successful businesses and ensure they can continue to sustain their operations alone in the long term.

SOS Children's Zambia
A young girl walks home. Photo courtesy of Ms. Nina Bannemann.
Economic Success and Moving Away from Poverty

One year after joining the SOS-run program, Ruth is in better health, is financially independent and is saving towards rebuilding her home. With the help of SOS Children's Villages Chipata, all her grandchildren now go to school, helping to ensure that they do not repeat the cycle of poverty.

SOS Children's Villages help families like Ruth’s through our family strengthening programs in three shanty town catchment areas on the outskirts of Chipata - Mchini, Magazine and Nabvutika. More than 20,000 people live in this area in 4,000 households, but there is very limited health care or education available. Our programs help families in need to prevent child abandonment. We meet families’ immediate needs, and offer long term, tailored help to enable families to eventually manage their households without outside support.

Donate to SOS Children’s Villages today to help support women like Ruth around the world. Providing women with economic opportunities and educations helps to ensure that their children, who are often even more vulnerable than the women themselves, aren’t orphaned or abandoned.