Lushomo Trust

 THE GRACE CENTRE

The Situation

There is only one crossing between the Southern African country of Zambia and neighboring Botswana, which is in the town of Kazungula. The Zambezi River flows between the two countries, and all vehicles must be carried over on a pontoon. Commercial trucks wait in a queue for up to 10 days, during which time the drivers play cards, listen to music, and way too often, entice vulnerable young girls and women to “entertain” them. This is much easier than it should be in an extremely impoverished town with a history of sexual abuse and child marriage. With no alternative sources of income, many girls and young women become victims.

Kazungula has over 90% unemployment with a per capita income of less than fifty cents per day. Less than 15% of all children reach secondary school, and the rate for girls is usually even lower than that. Attending secondary school requires the payment of school fees, which most families cannot afford. With no education and no chance of employment, many girls in their teens marry young and/or fall prey to sexual abuse and prostitution.

There are no vocational training programs in Kazungula or the surrounding villages, and traveling to other towns, such as Livingstone, is not a possibility for all these girls.

 
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What Could Possibly Be Done to Help


The only permanent answer identified by community leaders was an opportunity for training, and in some case, the fund to complete secondary education. The founders of the Lushomo Trust identified 3 areas where trained young women can find employment—tailoring, computer work, and food preparation. They opened Grace Centre for counseling and training. They have ambitious goals, but so far, only the tailoring program has funds, and they have enrolled 30 young girls and women. There are funds to build the food preparation school and restaurant, a first for Kazungula! However, funds are needed for the equipment and training. Some computers have been acquired to date, but funds are needed for training. Trained graduates will be highly employable at the local customs offices, as well as tourist hotels and lodges around Livingstone.

 

The Grace Centre Project

High School Sponsorship

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The Grace Centre is a new initiative in Kazungula, Zambia which will be supported by a Rotary Global Grant. The goal is to help young women at risk for sexual exploitation and early marriage by training them in vocations where they can find employment—computer work, tailoring, and food preparation.

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About 80% of girls in Zambia are currently unemployed. There are 2 contributing factors—a lack of training in an employable skill, and a lack of secondary school education.  The costs associated with secondary schooling is beyond the means of most families, and if funding is possible, boys are the priority.  Many of the girls at The Grace Centre could finish high school if funds were available.

While the Rotary Global Grant will provide the critical skills training, school fees are not allowed as part of the grant. Therefore, we are seeking individual and Rotary Club donations for the sponsorships.

 

+ How will the girls be selected?

The Grace Centre will be managed by an established NGO called The Lushomo Trust. The Grace Centre Working Committee is comprised of Lushomo Trust board members, and guidance counselors/teachers from local schools. They will approve applicants based on their financial need, aptitude, and desire for future studies.

+ What are the costs and what is covered?

For 2019, 430 dollars will cover all costs for a student; increases (if any) for future years will be minimal.

A yearly sponsorship includes text books, materials, two school uniforms, PTA fees, and administrative fees.

Renewing the sponsorship each year will help motivate the girls to excel in the school and The Grace Centre program—it will also provide the opportunity to reevaluate the worthiness of each recipient.

+ What information about the girls will we receive?

The Grace Centre Working Committee will send information about the girls that you (or your Rotary Club) sponsor as well as photographs. In addition, everyone will receive school progress reports and personal letters from the girls.

+ How will the funds be managed?

The charitable arm of the Rotary Club of Ventura, California—The Julius Gius Memorial Rotary Foundation, a 501(c)—will receive the sponsorship funds and transfer them to the Rotary Club of Livingstone, who will then dispense the funds to the schools with the assistance of The Grace Centre Working Committee.

+ How do I donate, and are funds tax deductible?

All funds are tax deductible. To donate, please write a check to the Julius Gius Memorial Foundation for $430.00 for each student you would like to sponsor, and on the memo line, please include The Grace Centre. Mail the check to:

Julius Gius Memorial Foundation
PO Box 2100
Ventura, CA 93002-2100

 

If you have additional questions, please email George Poulakos of the Rotary Club of Ventura at gjpoulakos@gmail.com, or call him at 954-494-4387.