Home of Hope is a Centre which gives shelter to the homeless boys that are found on the streets of Lusaka in order to rescue them from the vicious circle of homelessness: street-drugs-abuse-crime. It has become a half-way home with the purpose of re-integrating those children back in their families and main stream society. Statistics show that 90 % of street children are boys. The girls are referred to other NGOs with a similar outreach program.
The Centre was founded in 1998 by the Catholic Women’s League of Lusaka at the request of the then Archbishop of Lusaka R.R. Medardo Mazombwe. The League is still in charge of advocacy, sourcing funds and development of the premises as well as its running costs.
Being within its boundaries, the Catholic Parish of Good Shepherd was involved from the very beginning of the Centre. The first basic structures were built within the property of St. Lawrence Community Centre under the supervision of the Missionaries of Africa.
In 2011, Home of Hope admitted 68 homeless boys from whom 37 of them ran away at one point or another. Most of them came back and were readmitted. A total of 24 boys were successfully reintegrated to their families while others are still under the care of the Centre by providing them with educational support. Some children were very young. Two of them were 6 years old, one 8 and several boys within the range from 9 to 11 years old. Two brothers came from Ethiopia and two young ones from DRC/Congo.
The Centre works closely with Social Services (DSWO), Child Protection Unit of Zambia Police (CPU) and International Organization for Migrants (IOM). As a joint effort, Home of Hope has managed to take two cases (assault and child sexual abuse) to the Court of Law.
The year 2011 was marked by many types of violence among the population of homeless youth and children in Lusaka. Among these, the most common were assaults. But cases of murder, child sexual abuse, abortion and suicide were also registered. At various moments, the Centre was instrumental in transporting dead children to the Lusaka Mortuary, obtaining legal documentation and informing relatives of the deceased when possible. At the moment Home of Hope employs four teachers. Six dormitories are sheltering 48 boys. Our confrere Jacek Rakowski is involved at the Centre for many years now. Child protection policy guidelines are in place for the wellbeing of the children as much as for the staff of the Centre.