Health
 Zambia
Project #4910

Ensure Comfort for Grandmothers

by Chikumbuso
Vetted

Picture your grandmother too embarrassed to admit she can't feed herself. Now picture her with four grandchildren living with her. Then picture her living in a small concrete shed, sleeping on the floor, and walking the streets begging every day. This, unfortunately, is how we often find the grandmothers we decide to help. And we can take care of their physical needs: buying them mattresses, charcoal for their stoves, food to cook, clothes for their grandchildren. Unfortunately, we cannot give them their dignity. This must be restored to them by the relationships that surround them. 

Our widows try to do just that by visiting these grandmothers, spending time with them, and reminding them that they matter, that they are loved. These friendships are not easy - the widows often need to travel long distances to see the grandmothers - but they are an important part of the ministry we provide. Without the gift of relationship, these grandmothers might be better fed, or better clothed, but they will still be lonely and struggling. 

Your support allows us to continue to visit these women, to bring food and supplies with us, and to restore, little by little, their dignity. Thank you.

 I remember back when Chikumbuso consisted of nothing more than 8 widows struggling to find an enterprise that would change their lives. One day, Beauty and I drove past a very old woman sitting on a pile of rocks. In her right hand was a hammer and in her left was a rock that she was about to smash into pieces.  She was sitting in the shade of a large tree that unfortunately did not protect her from the heat of the day.  I was shocked. Such an old lady obliged to smash rocks, I could not help but think of my grandmother or great aunt doing the same. 

This is not the story of one grandmother it is the story of many grandmothers who lose their children to AIDS. They inherit their grandchildren and have no manner of support for them.  Many sit on a pile of rocks working all day for perhaps $1 or $2 if they are lucky and this story is why we started our grandmother project. We might not be able to relieve them from a crumbled home where they sit recycling the cement rocks but we do lighten their load through food allotments and health care. 

Mary is one of our grandmothers. She is lame and was given a wheelchair by her church. Her home crumbled around her last year so Chikumbuso recently rebuilt it. Only one of Mary's children is alive and Mary cares for four grandchildren. There is nothing she can do to help herself but she is commited to loving her grandchildren.  Your gift will help us continue to help her and other grandmothers like her.

Elesedi
Elesedi
Over the past year two grandmothers have been coming to Chikumbuso to ask for  support and be included in the grandmother sponsorship program. They usually come around to ask for food specifically. So far, Gertrude, our school principal, has been welcoming them and sharing her own food with them. Through our sponsorship program we were able to get one of these two sponsored on a monthly basis. 
While I was at Chikumbuso last month I met these grandmothers and I am so pleased to let you know that although only one of them has been sponsored ($350/year) they have continued in their friendship by sharing this food together. They split a 25kg bag of mealie meal, a bottle of oil, salt, and sugar.  What a privilege to help those who do not abandon their friends upon their good fortune but rather share the little that is given to them. 
Paulina knows difficulty and does not want her friend Elesedi to stand on her own. :)
Chikumbuso's motto is to "remember to do for others". Paulina puts it into practice.

Erica is one of the grandmothers Chikumbuso supports with monthly food allotments and healthcare. Erica has been with the Widows and Orphans Project for several years now and has always been thankful for her care.  – She was born in Malumbo in the Western Province of Zambia and does not know her age or birth date. What she does know is that she had six children and they have all died. Now Erica lives with three grandchildren, who inherited a house from their father. Erica's health is not good and she was just released from a three week stay in the hospital.  When we asked her how we could better help her she said that her primary need is for more food – vegetables and meat to be eaten with the nshima she is receiving. 

Sponsoring grandmothers began as an outreach program, reminding us to do more for those who can not help themselves. Despite the fact that we only have 18 grandmothers Chikumbuso spent over $7000 of non budgeted money on medical services or funeral services for these grandmothers this year.

Please help us continue to help them by giving to this program or by changing a grandmother's life through sponsorship.  $400/year can care for a grandmother and her household.  

Links:

New Faces
New Faces

Lately we have been welcoming two grandmothers at the Chikumbuso center who come to ask for support and to be included in the grandmother sponsorship program. They usually come around when they are hungry and ask for food. Up to this point Gertrude has been taking them in and sharing her own food with them.

 Both grandmothers are from Ng’ombe, where our community center is located. Paulina is one of the grandmothers. She had 5 children (3 daughters, 2 sons). The 3 daughters have passed away. One son is married and never visits her. She lives with her last son, who drinks a lot and doesn’t work.

 The other grandmother is called Elesedi. All of her children have passed away but one daughter. She lives with this young daughter and 4 grandchildren (from her other children, who have passed away). The young daughter does piece work (is hired out daily) and with this small amount of money she provides for the 4 children (her nephews) and her mother (Elesedi).

 Grandmothers struggle in Ng’ombe to feed children and care for them because they are unemployable. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these grandmothers the cost is $350/year, a bit less than $30/month. The grandmother receives monthly food allotments, visits from a caregiver, and a mattress and blanket. It will change their lives!

 

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Organization Information

Chikumbuso

Location: Lusaka - Zambia
Website: http:/​/​www.chikumbuso.com/​
Project Leader:
Linda Wilkinson
Ng'ombe, Lusaka Zambia

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