Photos and Stories
Here are some of the children's stories and some pictures of the team in action.
The Children's Stories
From Street Life to School Life: The Story of Justin
I used to live with my mother and siblings, but when mother died, we had to move to grandmother’s place. We had to move again to my aunt’s place because grandmother was too old to care for us.
We were not in school for a while because our aunt didn’t have enough money to buy us school uniforms and other learning materials. Instead, she asked me and my younger brother to help her collect sand to sell to people who were building houses. Things became worse, and my young brother could not stand it. He ran away to the streets.
I stayed with my aunt for few months until I decided to run away too. I survived on alms from shoppers and if I didn’t get anything from alms, I would get left-over meals from restaurants. I continued roaming the streets because I hoped I would find my brother one day, but after a year, I never found him. Gradually I started falling into bad habits like smoking (chamba) marijuana.
Sometimes, people would talk to us about disadvantages of street life. I wasn’t ready to leave the streets because I hadn’t found my brother yet. However, one day Uncle Macdonald (a Chimwemwe worker) convinced me to go with him to the Samaritan Trust, another organization offering shelter to vulnerable children. He told me I could start school again and I would be provided with meals and uniform. I am now in standard 3 at Bangwe catholic primary school, and I am very happy in school. I want to be educated and be ‘somebody in life’ one day and help save my brother. I am also confident I will be united with my brother one day.
Alick currently attends Makata Primary school and is in standard 6. He has a mother, but his father died a long time ago. He was at Chisomo Children's Club and now comes o the streets to clean shoes to raise money. He also helps carry luggage for a tip/fee. He dropped out of school last year but was encouraged to go back from January.
There are two Bonifaces in the project. This is 'little Boniface'.He lives in Mbayani (20 mins away from Blantyre). Mac met him on the streets in January. Has a mother but his Father has died. His mother works and sells things at the Mbayani market. Chimwemwe helped to reintegrate Boniface back to his family and to school and he has been sleeping at home since. He is currently in standard 2 in Mbayani primary school. Although he goes to school in the morning he often then comes to Blantyre to beg in the afternoons.
There are two Bonifaces in the project. This is 'big Boniface'. Boniface would like to be a driver but has to finish school yet. In the past he has been in and out of children's homes and orphanages and has had some training as a mechanic at Monkey Bay. After Monkey Bay, he came and lived on the streets of Blantyre but was arrested for being a vagabond. Currently he works, carrying loads at the market and is lodging with another man.
Henry lives in Gaisi, Mbayani. Currently he is not registered with a school, although Chimwemwe are working with his family to try to get him registered. He has a mother and three siblings, but his father died about 2 years ago. His mother doesn't work, but a relative brings the family food. None of the children go to school at present. Sometimes Henry is sent to Blantyre to beg and if he doesn't get enough money, is afriad to go home.
When asked what he wanted to do when he grows up, Henry said that he wanted to be a boss. When asked what kind of boss, he said 'Rich boss'! He would like to go back to school to help to become a rich boss.
"I would love to be a doctor when I grow up"
Rose says this with complete confidence, and it’s hard to doubt her ability to achieve this feat.
Rose is eleven years old and lives with her mother and a brother, Elias who is 9 years old. They live in Chilobwe, one of the communities Chimwemwe works with. Though her blouse and skirt show a lot of wear and tear, Rose keeps them as neat as she possibly can.
Rose’s father died when she was six years old leaving her sick mother with no-one to care for her. Rose started going on the streets begging for food and money to support her brother as well as her sick mother.
Through the Chimwemwe’s street outreach programme, where Macdonald goes on the streets to identify children, Rose has managed to return back to school. The school where Rose and her brother Elias are attending offer porridge of high energy protein, thus reducing cases of hunger. Even when food is scarce at home, they know that they will have porridge at school, Monday through Friday.
Although they have to walk some kilometers to and fro everyday, as long as they eat at school, Rose says she will not stop coming to attend classes and learn something that will help her family in future. At the end of last term, Rose was tenth in her class of 110 children.
Francis and Joseph
Francis currently sleeps on the streets although he is keen to go back to school. He's a close friend of 'little' Boniface.
Joseph has always been on the streets; Mac has known him for over 8 years. He was also at Chisomo Children's Club. Joseph doesn’t have any parents, but does have relatives in Ndirande. Usually he rents a house with a few other children which he pays for by asking other children to beg for him, although he also gets money by carrying things (often at the Blantyre market).
Nicholas is currently sleeping on the streets in Blantyre, on rough ground behind some warehouses. He wants to go into an orphanage and is very keen to get back into school. Chimwemwe are working with him at the moment to try and find out more about his background and his community and to help to get him back into a safe environment and into education.
Tendai lost both his parents and has been on the streets for nearly 5 years with nowhere to live at all. He doesn’t talk about his family. He did attend school, but left before standard 3.
Shadrick was also at Chisomo Children's Club and has been on the streets for nearly 5 years. He earns money on streets by carrying bags for people. Recently he has been accused of being involved with guns and beating the other children and taking their things, although he denies this. In the past, he has been arrested for possession of marujana. Currently he is renting a house in Mbayani.
Elton is new on the streets this year. Both of his parents are alive, although doesn’t live with them because they don’t care for him properly. Has been to school in the past but isn’t attending at the moment. He has completed schooling up to standard 5 and is keen to return back to school. He would like to live back at home if is parents were more responsible. Chimwemwe is working with Elton and his family to support him.
Mac (right) and Harris (left)
Mac and Harris out on outreach
The boys and Mac seeking shade under a tree
Amanda, as taken by 'little' Boniface