Children’s Town Malambanyama Zambia

Linked to our presentation of Moses Zulu – Zambia.

Also linked to our presentation of The International HUMANA PEOPLE TO PEOPLE Movement.

The Children’s Town is a school project designed to address the plight of street children and other vulnerable children in giving them a chance to get off the streets, to get an education and turn their lives around into productive citizens.

The project provides a supportive environment and basic education to former street children and orphans from major cities and towns in Zambia and the surrounding villages.

The project was established in 1990 with only 2 children. As the number of children grew the physical structures of the project also grew from living in tents to building 4 residential homes. Now the centre serves as a school, a home and sound environment for 300 former street children and orphans.

The children are organised into family units, which provide them with a home environment. Discussing their character and behaviour and offering counselling regularly addresses the rehabilitation of children. All conflicts are followed up and appropriate authorities involved if necessary. A Social Worker conducts home visits to evaluate the situation in guardian’s houses as the project strives to reunite the children with their families in circumstances that are favourable. Files on the social background of the children are regularly updated. The statistics, current accommodation and occupation of those who have graduated are kept to establish the impact of the project.

The children at the project receive primary education, vocational training and learn to be responsible and productive. The Ministry of Education recognised Children’ Town as a community school. The school follows the ministry’s curriculum. The school facilitates a community based initiative of 5000 orphans in an outreach program for orphans in 240 villages around the school in trying to address the education, shelter, nutrition, clothing needs. The school also undertakes HIV/AIDS awareness programs.

Children’s Town has various activities structured into several areas that children can take part into. The academic program covers the national curriculum from reception class to grade 9. The objective is to provide literacy and numerical skills, which form the core of understanding upon which further education depends on. The program has been deigned to meet the needs of children who missed out on regular education and aims to bridge this gap caused by their background.

The project has initiated a remedial class where reception children of any age who may never have been exposed to formal school environment before are given the appropriate orientation into academic subjects. The methodology of remedial class is based on one-to-one tutorials, as individual attention creates a secure, learning encouraging atmosphere. The children are evaluated regularly so that they can be reintegrated into the usual classes as soon as they reach the appropriate knowledge and confidence.

The skills training program is meant to establish a connection between classroom theory and real life. It aims to equip the children with the practical knowledge that will enable them to earn an income and become independent. The skills training is divided into 5 stages that prepare the children for more serious vocational training. In the end the children receive a Trade Tested Certificate. The practical training is conducted in the Children’s Town’s garden, farm, animal keeping units and shop.

The first stage is scouting activities where children learn about nature and health. They are taught how to resolve every day’s conflicts in a friendly and peaceful manner.

In the second stage, the children are taught Business Management and Animal Husbandry. This step aims to instil a sense of responsibility in the children who are entrusted with small amounts of money to handle and are left with small animals to take care of. They learn to raise animals and establish a relationship of trust and kindness that they missed in their lives.

The third stage, vegetable production and home economics, teaches children that home production is an alternative to purchasing for consumption. They are taught how to grow organic vegetables and hygienic food preparation.

Stage 4 and 5 is Mixed farming and Advanced Training in Agriculture encourages children to build up the knowledge gained in previous steps. At his stage the children are between Grade 7 and Grade 9 and are prepared to sit for the Grade 7 or Grade 5 Trade Certificate.

The project runs an Integration Program as a follow up activity to unite the school’s graduates with their surviving relatives or resettling them in the village around the project. The project staff and local leaders secure the land to settle the graduating young people and provide them with agricultural inputs and tools or help them start up any other business such as keeping pigs and chicken. Assistance given to graduates willing to live in the area is done linking them to organisations that assists with farming inputs as well as other organisations giving out small loans. The project assists children who complete school to secure a college place and bursaries from the Zambian Government.

The project has direct links with the community in many ways. Through the Parents Teachers Association the community has helped develop the school’s infrastructure by making bricks for building teachers’ houses and a diary parlour.

The project has given the issue of the girl child a special focus and has designed programs that give life skills to the girls and help protect them against various potential dangers that they face such as drug, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and unplanned pregnancies. The project introduced a theme of Women, girls and HIV/AIDS as a debate topic in an awareness campaign against the disease. The topic aimed at discouraging society to take advantage of women and girls in HIV/AIDS related issues. The school also introduced “Self Responsibility and Self Courage” topics to help develop the children.

The school interacts with other schools in the district in Cultural Festival competitions, Inter School Zone Quiz and sports. Sports and culture have been used meaningfully as unifying factors. These 2 have been used to bring people together from different communities. Sports and culture have also been used to sensitise the communities on matters of health such HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria.

In future the DAPP Children’s Town plans to expand the Production Unit to commercial level so that the project becomes self sufficient in food production and be able to sell surplus to the community. The school hopes to become a training ground for other projects that wish to look after orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. There are plans to introduce High School education and adult education at the project. (Read more on

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