Banda LUSAKA (Xinhua) -- In Zambia’s capital city
Lusaka, Misisi is a slum known for a wide range of anti-social
vices that include drug and alcohol abuse and high incidences of
domestic violence that characterize lower income communities
Its location, being near the Central
Business District (CBD), makes it easy for many vulnerable
children to wander away from home in search of what they
perceive to be a better life on the streets.
To counter this trend, Kingdom Culture
Theatre and Media Arts (KCTMA), a local theatre group, has been
working with children at risk of living on the street and
encouraging those already living on the street to participate in
performing arts programs so as to have a better future.
The organization is a youth led
non-profit entity that serves to empower children and young
people using their talents to better their livelihoods and give
back to the community.
The organization uses theatre and
arts, in the form of drama, poetry, cultural dances and music to
sensitize communities about the importance of education as well
as to raise funds for its programs.
Proceeds realized go towards
educational support of targeted young people and children and
supplementing household incomes of underprivileged families. The
young people perform at various events and functions that range
from social gatherings to formal meetings.
“We believe that every child and young
person has a talent, which gives them an opportunity to achieve
their dreams and give back to their generation,” Honest Kanyanta,
the organization’s director of programs told Xinhua in an
Kanyanta further said that communities
where young people come from are complex, creating unsafe
environment that expose children to theft, crime and other
The idea is to prevent them from going
on the streets and instead encourage them to explore their
inherent talents and to be in school, he added.
Kanyanta observes that a lack of
recreational facilities in the slums coupled with high levels of
poverty has pushed many children to engage in illicit activities
just to survive.
“The only recreation facilities in
place are bars and other dingy drinking places,” he observes.
He reveals that his organization has
since inception in April this year been able to provide for
educational needs of more than 50 children, the majority of whom
are in Misisi slum where the organization operates from.
According to him, the organization was
doing well to improve the lives of people in the slum who have
benefited financially, while some have acquired a wide range of
livelihood skills such as financial literacy activities.
With international donor support
dwindling, non-profit organizations particularly from lower
income countries are already exploring ways of sustaining
projects and programmes within their borders.
Organizations like KCTMA have
demonstrated that looking within for solutions does pay off
Zambia has for a long time grappled
with the challenge of street children. To address this, the
government embarked on a skills training program for young
persons and for street children.
However, the majority of those that
received training in various skills ended up on the street
because they could not find jobs and sometimes lack of proper
reintegration mechanisms pushed many back on the streets.
In Zambia, causes for children’s
homelessness range from neglect by parents and guardians, death
of parents, poverty, family divorce and abuse forcing children
to go and live and work on the streets.
In order to survive, many orphans and
other vulnerable children engage in various forms of work such
as begging for alms and commercial sex work.
In Zambia’s capital city alone, there
are an estimated 30,000 children living on the streets.