Through our partnerships with local African churches, Forgotten Voices seeks to meet the physical and spiritual needs of orphaned and vulnerable children like Patience. Six-year-old Patience lives with her mother, aunt and grandparents in a rural area called Silubwabwa Village, in Zambia. A recent income generation grant to support Patience’s grandfather’s initiation of a piggery business has the potential to stabilize their family, despite a history of hardships.
Lameck Chikashi, Patience’s grandfather, is the primary provider for his family. At age 61, Lameck works with perseverance and compassion, despite having experienced great suffering and misfortune throughout the later years of his life. After spending years as a seminary-trained pastor of various congregations and providing for his family’s needs by farming and repairing bicycles, Lameck’s first wife died unexpectedly. In addition, his three sons – now adults – offer him no help and have no interest in maintaining a relationship. Several years ago, he and his second wife lost their home and all of their possessions in a devastating fire. They have since acquired a new property, and poultry farming is their main source of income. Recently, Lameck suffered a bout of acute pneumonia, which has limited his ability to earn the livelihood on which his family depends.
An income generation grant brings thanks and hope
However, Lameck’s community looks to him as a respected leader, and a faithful member of his local church – BIC Macha Praise Center. Through the church’s custom plan, in partnership with Forgotten Voices, Lameck received an income generation grant to construct a piggery and purchase a pair of pigs for breeding. This grant offers a good example of how local churches are helping to ensure that the needs of children like Patience are met in sustainable ways (through income generation grants to caregivers) that extend beyond simply providing supplemental food or paying school fees.
The anticipated income Lameck will earn through raising and selling pigs is expected to be a huge boost to the Chikashi family’s income stability. “I am thankful that God has heard my cries, and answered my prayers through this grant,” Lameck says. “Never have I received such a gift in my life.”
Looking to the future
In addition to the new piggery venture, the family currently raises about 100 chickens, ducks and turkeys. In the future, Lameck hopes to share what he knows about farming and livestock with others in his village. He hopes that agricultural skills will offer community members a worthwhile alternative to drunkenness, teen pregnancies and early marriages. In addition, he would like to reopen a bicycle repair shop and help some of the uneducated young men learn how to continue that operation. Finally, as the Christian educator at his church, Lameck says he makes it a priority to educate adults about their important role in child protection within their village and the neighboring village.
Lameck looks to the future with great hope. However, he still faces many struggles: his health challenges, a lack of adequate capital to complete the pigs’ enclosure/roofing, and no local source of clean water within their village are just a few of his many trials. Nonetheless, his heart overflows with confidence in God’s faithfulness through all things. “This grant,” he says, “will change my life, my family and my community as a whole.”
Special thanks to Forgotten Voices Area Impact Coordinator Chilobe Jongolo for sharing this story.