Letter received from Br. Jacek Rakowski M.Afr. October 2019:
Dear Members of the Zambia Society Trust,
Greetings from Lusaka and from Home of Hope.
It was just not so long ago when we were celebrating New Year and it’s hard to believe, that we are nearing to the end of it. As usual for us, it has been intense and eventful year.
As usual, let me start with some statistics.
Since the beginning of January till the end of September we have received 53 new children, which for us is yet again a new record. Not by choice, but by necessity. Demand for our services is growing and unfortunately it seems to be coming from increased number of children getting separated from their families. During this year we have witnessed significant increase in new children on the streets of Lusaka and in the Copperbelt. Most of these are very young children, also number of young girls has increased.
Today we have 68 boys living at Home of Hope, so we had to limit our presence on the street out of fear, that we will end up coming with a new child in the situation when we are already overcrowded.
During the same period of time (January till October) we have managed to reintegrate with their families a total of 32 boys, but till today we have had 3 instances of relapse, when reintegrated child ran again away from home and had to be readmitted into our facility.
Apart from boys living at Home of Hope we also have in our care 19 youngsters, who continue their education in boarding schools. Very soon (next month) 6 of them will have their Grade 7 exam and another 6 will write their Grade 9 exam. Judging by the midterm results from their schools, we anticipate that all of them will pass and graduate to higher grades.
One of our long-time caregivers (Mr. Jeremiah), has moved to greener pastures and we had to find his replacement. New teacher, Mr. Pius, is working with us already for three months and we can proudly say, that he is an asset to our “family”.
This year we have also managed to renovate and “upgrade” our home. All of boys’ dormitories have now floor ceramic tiles, all of them were repainted (including beds) and the whole house was repainted and refreshed as well. You can see the results on attached photos. The house looks now more homely and child friendly. It is also a lot easier to keep it clean.
Just two months ago, after 20 years of partnering with Home of Hope, the Catholic Women’s League, has announced that they are pulling out from Home of Hope and want to focus on future work with girls. Effective from 31st December this year we are on our own! This announcement came to us totally unexpected and took us by surprise. Now we will have to restructure and learn to be on our own. What it means practically to us, is that we will have to create new structures (ownership change, new Board, bank accounts, etc.) and also assume some of the expenses which usually were taken care of by CWL: food and salaries for 4 of our 9 employees.
To be very frank with you, as of today we have almost 90 people to care for, and 2,400 USD on our account. It doesn’t look bright, but we are doing our best not to despair (yet).
We are expecting some humps on our way ahead, but are confident that with guidance from Providence and help from well-wishers, we are going to come through and continue our service to some of the most vulnerable children from our society.
Six new children every month that for us a lot of travel and learning, as without knowing the families of our boys, we are not able to provide them and their families with meaningful and lasting help. For this reason, transportation is one of our biggest expenses.
As you already know, to make sure that upon leaving our home boys are well prepared to resettle in their families, we are providing them with “in house” education. For this purpose we have employed diploma teacher, Mrs. Steila Phiri (who happens also to be the wife of one of our former boys Ruben Makasa). Kids are divided in age and competence appropriate groups and have at least three hours of classes every day. By the time they are ready to go back to formal school, they are at the same level with their peer.
Supplementing transport expenses and providing salary for our “in house” teacher, that is how we have used your donation for this year.
As always, we are very grateful for your friendship, love and support! Without you, the Zambia Society Trust, we would not be able to be as effective in our service to the children entrusted into our care.
Please receive our deepest gratitude!
United with you all and with best regards, on behalf of all members of Home of Hope.