Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project looks for better solutions in helping our grandmothers. Every month we reach out to 23 courageous women who care for their grandchildren left to them after their own children died. As part of Chikumbuso’s mission statement “to remember to do for others” we have incorporated grandmothers in our support program hoping to lighten their load. Twice a month the grandmothers are visited by a caregiver and given a 25 kg. bag of mealiemeal, oil, candles, soap, salt and charcoal.
Each of these grandmothers has their own story of struggle to share. Eneless Mwanza’s husband died in 2004 of polio and since then her life has been a struggle. Her husband worked as a day guard guarding the homes of others. When she could Eneless would do “piecework” in the compound to help supplement the income. This piece work means that she would go from house to house asking if there was any extra work that needed to be done; washing up dishes, doing laundry, etc. Together this couple had ten children but today only two are alive. Eneless can no longer do piece work. She is too old to walk around looking for work. Her two children live far away but they have “given” her three grandchildren to care for her and help her around the house. Her home is a two room place with out electricity. She owns her house, which is a relief because she does not have to pay a rent. Her neighbors give her some vegetables when they can, but otherwise no one but Chikumbuso is there for her. In an effort to be environmentally friendly Chikumbuso would like to eliminate this donation of charcoal (our Zambian forest) and give each of our grandmothers a “rocket stove”. These stoves are part of Zambia’s National Forestry Service to educate the population on the need to get away from charcoal and find more fuel efficient alternatives. It uses for each meal only a handful of kindling. Each stove costs $200. A stove for Eneless Mwanza would mean that she would not have to struggle to find charcoal, she could cook once a day and keep the rest for the evening in the stove “warmer”. Her grandchildren could collect the small amount of kindling needed around the neighborhood. This stove would also keep them warm on these cool rainy days. If you would like to help with this grandmother project you would not only be helping a family but also keeping the forests of Zambia!
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