Zambia, Africa

ZAM30 - Ukusenaminwa Child Foundation: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: May 15, 2023

Report from BHW Zambia Partnership Facilitators Following Visit

Key person: Sarah Nyirenda

good yieldWe met with Sarah at the house and farm outside of Kabwe on Saturday morning. All the members of the house had been busy harvesting their crop of maize from 05.00 hours in the morning. They were thankful to God for a great crop and were harvesting a bit early because people were coming into the fields to steal some maize.

Sarah is concerned for Zambia this year as there was not much rain, and the supply of fertilizer through the government cooperatives was late and very short of what was promised. Through Foundations for Farming, they planted using compost and had also saved some seed from good sized cobs from the previous season so have a good yield.


Recent Events

Safe Haven Team

Sarah heads up the team that consists of:
Chicco - Sarah's brother
Edna- Sarah's sister
Beauty and her husband
Irene Sedo

Vulnerable Children

safe placeCurrently they have 59 vulnerable children that are being helped. Most of these live fulltime at the house, with seven away at secondary boarding school and 11 at college. 

Six deaf children are now at college, learning to be teachers at the Kitwe College of Education.

The main costs of the house are to feed, clothe and educate these vulnerable ones.

Martin, who was one of the first deaf boys in the house, is a qualified teacher and is now married with one son. He has been sponsored to go to Zimbabwe to learn theology and has been asked to share at some international conferences. Martin often sends Sarah money to help with the running of the house.

Peter, another one of the original deaf boys, has continued with his grocery store and has now bought his own house plot. With his wife Lobita they have three children they look after. 

Sustainability Activities

Farming and Crops:
everyone involvedThe house grows many crops and vegetables that they either sell or use for consumption in the household. When they sell, they book a stall in the new local Kabwe market and sell in bundles. Currently they are growing a lot of okra as it is the right season and sell it for a good price per bundle (150 to 200ZMK). They also planted 3 limas (3/4 hectare) of cabbages.

Potatoes are another crop they are trying to grow for the first time this year.

Maize is usually grown just for consumption in the house. They need about 120 bags per year to meet their requirements. This year they have grown 5 limas (1.25ha) and are expecting to cover most of their requirement. Normally they purchase some more maize early and store it, as later in the season the maize price can more than double.

growing wellThe orchard has been growing well, providing plenty of guava, papaya, bananas, lemons, oranges, avocados and mangos. It is still a young orchard but the boys who look after it have been faithfully mulching and watering the plants so that they can grow well.

Goats are kept to provide a source of meat. There is a large herd kept in a lockup overnight, and released in the daytime to graze, before coming back to feed the new-born kids.

The piggery is about to commence with the first six pregnant females arriving in the second week of May. The pig house is nearly complete, it just needs the roofing planks and iron to be put in place and these materials have been purchased. For a start, because it is now the dry season, the roof is not needed.

Two men, Mubeta and Kabaso, who went through the Ukusenaminwa house and now live in Ndola working on a large commercial pig farm, are using their annual leave to come back for a month when the pigs arrive. They will help set up good practices of feeding, cleaning and vaccinations. Two young men will be trained by them in how to manage the piggery.

Sarah has been investigating the best options for sale of the pigs. Initially they will be selling new weaner pigs at the age of 6 weeks as there is a good local market for them. Some will be kept to the age of six months and sold at the Kasembuslsa Congo border for up to 6,500 ZMK (US$325). This will require transport as it is about 5 hours drive away, but the truck will pick pigs up from many small piggeries along the way.

The building to raise broiler chickens has yet to be completed but they have been raising some when funds allow in the porch of the house. The chickens are good as they provide a quick turnaround of just six weeks and can provide some meat for the house.

Community Empowerment

Robert and Mr Mweba attended the Foundations for Farming training at GLO in 2022. They learnt a lot of new things about farming and have been implementing them at the farm. They have seen a big difference in the crops and the growth of the orchard trees after following the methods of mulching, minimum tillage and compost making. Edwin Chama from GLO came to encourage them in November 2022 to help them faithfully follow the methods.

They have started to go to people in the community and help them with their farms as well, to empower people to have income to look after their own families. They ran a training session, with the village headman in attendance, showing people how to make compost.

The two men are very keen to receive more training to enable them to train more people in their own community.

Ukusenaminwa received a gift of six sewing machines which has helped to empower some ladies to start sewing businesses. They have been making uniforms and other small items for sale.

Unfortunately, the one lady who knew how to sew very well and who was training the others in the group passed away last year. Sarah is scouting for another lady to come and help train them.

Small Business:
Some of the local villagers have been helped with empowerment capital to start up small businesses. Some are trading fish, selling small groceries and other small household items from stalls set up in their own homes.

Boys and Girls Clubs:
The boys’ and girls’ clubs continue to meet up on a weekly basis with some games, food, bible teaching, mentoring and encouragement. Normally the discussions they have might take any track as the topics talked about will need to be flexible to meet the current needs of the children who come. 


Personal Stories


Grenda is currently 21 years old and has been with Ukusenaminwa for the last two months. She was born deaf in a place called Mbala, where a sponsor was helping her to go to school in another town called Kasama from grade one to grade eight. Unfortunately, the sponsor had to stop so at 14 years old she was sent back to her parents, but they did not know any sign language and could not communicate with her.

Her parents then decided just to give her up for an early marriage to a man as they didn’t know what else to do, so she was married at age 14. The marriage did not work, and she was thrown out of the home. Sarah was told of her by some friends she knew in Kasama, so went to pick her up from there. When she found Grenda she was very depressed and would not communicate much at all.

Now, two months after arriving, she is very happy and smiling, contributing to the running of the household. The aim is to send her back to school, starting in Grade 8, which Grenda is very excited about.


changed lifeDestiny has been with Ukusenaminwa for the past three months. He is a very bright and charming young man. For four years he used to live with his grandmother who was very old and could not look after him in any way. He was well known for stealing or “picking” in the area just to try and find food to sustain himself. He was deaf, most probably from malaria at a young age, and had never learnt any sign language or way to communicate.

One day he was so depressed with his life he decided just to walk away and started to walk down the main road between Lusaka and Kabwe. He walked for many kilometres until he could walk no more as he had not eaten anything for several days. Luckily, someone who knew Sarah found the boy passed out on the side of the road. When they saw his situation, they contacted Sarah, and she started the process of finding out where he was from and contacted his relatives to gain permission to look after him.

He started to learn sign language with Sarah’s help, and the help of other older boys in the house. Now he fits in so well, and loves being at the house.

They are going to try to take him to Beit Care Hospital in Lusaka to get his ears checked to see if anything can be done to help him. He is very vocal with his voice, and they are thinking perhaps a simple procedure may be able to help him. 


Partnership's Influence within the Community

Through the local empowerment programmes, Sarah has seen the ability of families to look after themselves start to increase. They used to run a weekly feeding programme and provide some education support for poorer families in the area, but now these programmes have significantly reduced as people have small businesses or better farming practices because of the training and help that has been given.


Ideas for the Future

Maize Trading:
The price of maize is expected to be very high towards November 2023 until the next harvest in 2024 because of the bad season many growers faced this year due to lack of rain in some areas, and the government subsided seed and fertilizer being very minimal and late.

Sarah is looking to buy some maize to store until the price goes up, then sell as a form of income generation, and protect the household from these price hikes. 


Current Issues and Challenges

The truck that they used to use to provide transport for all their needs has broken down and needs a new motor. They do have a smaller car but are unable to fit all the children in who need transport to go to school.



Sarah continues to look for ways to become more sustainable. They are still working on finishing the chicken house but may look to start the chickens again in the verandah of the house. We also discussed the maize storage income generating activity and BHW has subsequently provided funds for this.