child poverty in ZambiaZambia is a landlocked country that lies between Southern and Central Africa. The majority of Zambia’s 17.5 million population is under the age of 18, and over half of the population earns below the international poverty line of less than $2 per day. According to the World Bank, the estimated median age is 16.7, making evident the country’s severely imbalanced dependency ratio. This means that the dependent population (younger than 15 and older than 65) is much larger than the workforce can adequately support. While in the past few years Zambia has made progress in increasing access to nutrition and education, children in Zambia still lack a variety of necessities. In Zambia, 45.4% of children live in extreme poverty and 800,000 children still do not attend school.

What Is Family Legacy?

Family Legacy is a nonprofit organization based in Irving, Texas that seeks improvement in both of those areas for the most affected children of Lusaka, Zambia. In a variety of ways, the organization aims to reduce child poverty in Zambia by ensuring that these children have the opportunity to attend school. There, they get one hot meal every day and extra food to take home when they have good attendance. “This makes the parents more likely to let the kids go to school, and not be forced to work,” a Family Legacy volunteer said.

What Is Being Done to Fight Child Poverty in Zambia?

Family Legacy has four programs to meet its goal of alleviating child poverty in Zambia. The first, Legacy Academy, focuses on the Academics pillar, one of the organization’s four pillars of care. This main school program ensures that the children it serves receive primary and secondary education with all the necessary materials. The second program, Tree of Life, focuses on the physical and emotional pillars. Tree of Life is a residential community that provides children who have been through physical or emotional trauma with a safe place to live while they attend school. The third program, Excel Beyond, also focuses on the academics pillar. This program is designed to support the high school graduates of Legacy Academy while they build the foundation of a successful career. Finally, Camp Life represents Family Legacy’s spiritual pillar. The week-long experience seeks to bring hope and emotional growth to the Academy students.

Family Legacy’s success can be attributed to its three-tier approach, combining education, nourishment and the inclusion of benefits to the families of these children in need. The organization’s programs saw a ninth grade completion rate that was 18% higher than the national average last year. In addition, it has 156 students currently pursuing higher education. To help with curbing hunger in Zambia, Family Legacy distributes 4 million meals annually.

What Can We Do to Help?

Family Legacy’s progress is achieved via activities in multiple parts of the globe. In Dallas, volunteers pack meals, distribute clothes, gather supplies and find sponsors. Sponsorships are programs in which a family or individual provides the financial means for a child in Lusaka to attend school and receive meals and extra food. In Lusaka, volunteers make up the summer staff of Camp Life, participate in medical internships, assist with the graduation ceremonies of Tree of Life and Legacy Academy and participate in activities with the other Tree of Life children. Beginning to get involved in the fight against global poverty seems like a daunting task, but Family Legacy makes it easier than ever to fight child poverty in Zambia.

– Carolina Larracilla
Photo: Wikimedia Commons