Your support is transforming the lives of school-age girls in Serenje, central Zambia.
‘The girls, they call me mum, yeah,’ says Ruth. ‘Everyone addresses me as mum.’
Ruth is the matron at Serenje Girls Dormitory, which can accommodate more than 100 girls, many of whom are orphans. The facility offers a safe place for young girls from vulnerable backgrounds to complete their secondary education, which is not available close to home. Before the Tearfund-supported facility opened, school-age girls in Serenje were in imminent danger.
There was a boarding school, but it only accepted boys. Meanwhile, young girls looking to continue at secondary school were at grave risk.
‘If a girl made it to go to the higher grade, it meant coming to Serenje,’ says Ruth. This meant finding nearby accommodation away from home.
‘They have to squat or pay to stay in compounds. But houses in those compounds were not made with any protection. Elderly drunken men would bang on the doors and abuse the girls.
‘If a girl became pregnant, out of frustration they would join with the drunkard. That was the biggest danger in these compounds: a girl, far from her village, leaving school and becoming a drunkard – because there was no one there to instruct or to mother the children.’
But, the local bishop, Samson, started noticing this pattern of abuse and decided he wanted his church to provide somewhere that keeps girls safe.