Ebenezer School

livmap.jpgThe Ebenezer Child Care Trust is located in Livingstone, Zambia. ECCT's mission is to care for children who have lost one or both of their parents. Unfortunately this situation is very common in Zambia, due to HIV/AIDS, malaria and many other diseases. Life expectancy at birth is only 40 years (less that half that in Australia).

ECCT believes that these orphaned children deserve to have a home, food, medical treatment and an education, so that they can grow up to contribute to their country's future development.

Starting as a feeding programme for street children in 2001, ECCT now looks after 30 orphans in three houses and educates 323 children in its primary school. In 2011, 28 children completed year 7 at primary school, enabling them to move on to High School.

Part of the Ebenezer vision is to build a High School and Skills Training Centre on or near the site of the present school.

child-black.jpgEach Ebenezer home houses about 10 orphans and has a house-mother, or house-father, to care for the children. Although this is expensive, ECCT believes that the children should have as near as possible a normal home situation and not become institutionalised. ECCT is the legal guardian of all the orphans in its care and is fully accredited with the government as an orphanage.

Ebenezer's primary school is staffed by a dedicated team of nine Zambian teachers and is registered with the Zambian Government to follow the state curriculum. Recently the school has been designated as an examination centre by the government. The headmistress, Mrs Swagota Baroi, is highly qualified and has taught at tertiary level.

Each child at the school receives free medical treatment and a meal of vitamin enriched maize porridge each day. A trained counsellor looks after the emoional needs of the orphans and school children.

To educate the children at the school requires approximately $6000 per month in running costs. There is no assistance given by the Government. All must come from donations, mostly from Ebenezer supporters in Australia, Sweden and Canada.

Imagine trying to run a school on $20 per month per student in Australia! That includes teachers' wages and teaching resources.

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Read some of the orphans' stories below:

Violet

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Violet (or Vine as she calls herself) was seven years old when this picture was taken.

Some years ago Violet’s mother died in Lusaka and violet remained in hospital for four months, she had lost her will to live. The poor child was paralized and could not walk. However, with the help of her uncle (who himself is nearly blind with cataract) she slowly recovered. Violet came to Ebenezer last year because her uncle was too poor to care for her.

Violet now lives happily with the  other Ebenezer orphans.

Yande

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A widow named Alice was Ebenezer’s first house-mother. She brought her two children, Yande and his sister Leah to Ebenezer in 2001. 

Yande’s clothes were so tattered that Ranji pinned a piece of his shirt to a letter and sent it to Kerstin (Ranji’s main fundraiser from Sweden) saying she had never seen such tattered clothes!!! 

Leah

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Leah's mother, Alice, was a house-mother at Ebenezer. Before she died, Alice begged Ranji to take Leah in as a domestic. Ranji saw Leah’s potential and put her through Teacher’s College and she is now the Head Mistress of the Primary School.

Yande was accepted by Northrise University in Ndola for a 4 year Bachelor’s degree course in IT Technology in January 2007.

Jack

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Ranji knew Jack’s grandfather through her church before Ebenezer even began. From the day Ebenezer started, Jack’s grandfather begged Ranji to take the boy in.  The old man didn’t have a job – his only income was the little money he got by selling plants.  He couldn’t make ends meet, so Jack took to begging on the streets and eating from dustbins.  His mother was forced to make a little money by prostituting herself; she did not even know who Jack’s father was.

Due to hunger, Jack also started stealing from neighbours, getting himself into a whole lot of trouble with them and with his family.  His grandfather tried hard to discipline him but that just made the little boy more rebellious than ever.

Jack would run away from home and sleep on the streets and lost respect for all those in authority over him.  After sometime, Ranji yielded to the pleas of his grandfather and took Jack in, a decision she almost regretted!

He was a house-mother’s nightmare!  Ranji counseled the Ebenezer staff not to come down too hard on him, even though he provoked them so. He had already got more than his share of beating from his grandfather, for all the mischief he had got up to!

Ebenezer staff counseled him and prayed with him, all to no apparent avail. But thank God, after nearly two years of patient endurance, the boy started changing, very little at first, but it gave them the encouragement to go on.

Today, Jack’s life has almost totally changed. He still needs to get a smile on his serious little face, but he has learnt to respect his elders, he is an extremely good and intelligent student and has shown tremendous changes in his attitude and behaviour.