During her July visit to Zambia, ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard met a group of remarkable young people who worked together on the issue of teenage drinking. With the help of ChildFund staff, they rallied against the distribution of pocket-sized packets of high-proof alcohol that mimicked sugary kids’ drinks. After a student died of alcohol poisoning, these young people worked with local authorities to get a ban on the sale of alcohol packets, an accomplishment that took hard work and collaboration.
Goddard witnessed this kind of collaboration in ChildFund Zambia program areas and left impressed with what was possible when ChildFund Alliance members, humanitarian groups and local organizations join together for a common purpose.
A partnership between ChildFund and the Luangwa Child Development Agency made the construction of a new preschool possible. Goddard was invited to participate in its dedication and interact with children, who would normally have to wait to age 7 to start school.
The collaboration of ChildFund New Zealand and the concerned parents of children with disabilities supported the completion of the Special Education Needs School. Upon visiting the new facility, Goddard met with students and congratulated the school for employing teachers who are trained to meet their special needs.
Because of a collaboration between ChildFund Zambia and ChildFund Australia, 150 youth have been trained in banana production, goat rearing and entrepreneurship through the Youth Empowerment Program. Goddard met one young man who had completed the program with sufficient training and motivation to grow his own vegetable garden and open a small grocery store.
“As I talked to these young men and women, it was very clear that this project had changed their lives,” Goddard recalls. “Being part of this successful project has given the youth a status boost in their communities. They understand what it means to be empowered, and they are hopeful about the future.”
This is true for a young man named Arthur who was confident in his own future despite living HIV-positive. “Not all days are sugar,” he wrote.
“How true,” Goddard says. “Arthur is making progress and has so much to offer.”
It is ChildFund’s partnership with Zambia’s Ministry of Education that helped provide social support and group training to youth like Arthur.
As her trip revealed, collaboration assures the future and well-being of children in ChildFund’s program areas, and groups that develop positive relationships set good examples for youth, who, once empowered, become good examples in turn.
“I urged them to hold on to what they’ve learned and accomplished, and to pass their skills on to the next generation,” says Goddard. “That’s how change takes root.”