Supporting a safe house for secondary school girls in rural Zambia

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  • December 2, 2019
Safe house for girls in Zambia

The Halcrow Foundation has helped fund a project which supports teenage girls in Zambia to finish their secondary school education.

Many girls in rural Zambia find it impossible to attend secondary school for a range of issues, including poverty and early marriage. Villages may have a primary school, but many pupils have to travel to continue their education to secondary level and this is unaffordable for most. Travelling outside their village is also risky for vulnerable girls without family support.

So in 2018, the UK-based charity Baraka Community Partnerships raised funds to build the New Dawn Safe House in Maamba, where girls from deprived and often troubled backgrounds can live while they attend secondary school. Halcrow Foundation came on board after the house was built and funded a surrounding wall and gate to make the house safer, and a bike shed to free up more space for the girls who live there.

Community project

New Dawn Safe House was built to replace a rented safe house run by a local women’s charity, which provided food, shelter, skills training and emotional support to 21 girls attending secondary school. When funding for the earlier project ended, Baraka, which focuses on sustainable, community-led projects, oversaw the building of a new safe house on a plot of land in a quieter, more peaceful part of town. Many local people, including girls who would be living at the house, helped out on the building site.

Andy McKee from Baraka says, “Everyone at Baraka and all the girls at New Dawn Safe House send a huge thank you to The Halcrow Foundation for supporting the house and making it truly safe. The girls now feel far better protected with the new wall and gate, and the risk of unwelcome visitors – both human and non-human – has been dramatically reduced. The bike shed has allowed the girls to move the bikes out of the house thus creating more space inside, and allowing us to take on more girls in future.”

Better future

Girls who live at the house are chosen from the top students at rural primary schools by a board of volunteers overseen by the District Education Board. They often have difficult backgrounds, but share an ambition and determination to succeed and make a better future for themselves. Several have already become the first girls in their villages to complete their education up to Upper Secondary level (Year 12).

About Baraka Community Partnerships

Baraka Community Partnerships is small charity based in the UK, with projects in Zambia and Laos. It works on long-term solutions in partnership with local people and organisations whose skills complement its own. All projects are sustainable and self-sufficient, and suggested or initiated by local people. In this way Baraka helps communities bring to life their own ideas, goals and aspirations.

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