Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Tearfund home

World of Difference

Welcome to Zambia, where your support is equipping churches to transform their local communities.

In the foreground, two girls are dressed is school uniform. One is facing and smiling at the camera, the other looks at her and leans on her with her elbow on her shoulder. In the background there is a graphic in the shape of Zambia in yellow.
Zambia, World of Difference

Welcome Mulishani Mulishani ( English translation ) ( Bemba )


You've arrived in Zambia, a beautiful country that has witnessed remarkable economic growth in the past decade. However, most people are still living in widespread poverty and inequality, particularly young girls who are often denied an education. Literacy among men is 82 per cent but for women, it's just 67 per cent.

You can see a World of Difference in Serenje, central Zambia, where the church is keeping girls safe and securing their future...

Hear from Tearfund’s Zambia Country Director

Watch this introductory video from Anne Mumbi, Tearfund’s Zambia Country Director, where she describes how local churches are transforming lives across the country thanks to your support.

How your support transforms lives

A graphic image of a world map with a tag for Zambia's location

Where is Zambia?

Zambia is a large, landlocked country in the centre of Southern Africa.

Zambia in numbers

Happy feet

The Ingoma dance is named after a people group that spans south-central Africa. Many communities in Zambia greet visitors with their traditional welcome dances. This short film shows villagers from Faith Tabernacle Church and Mangena Village in Chiparamba community performing this special welcome for the visiting team from Tearfund.

The Ingoma dance is named after a people group that spans south-central Africa. Many communities in Zambia greet visitors with their traditional welcome dances. This short film shows villagers from Faith Tabernacle Church and Mangena Village in Chiparamba community performing this special welcome for the visiting team from Tearfund.

A mother to a whole school

Your support is transforming the lives of school-age girls in Serenje, central Zambia.

Smiling woman with her arms folded

Ruth is called 'mum' by the children at Serenje dormitory

An stamp of a green book

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.

Alongside other local churches, the bishop and his church had already benefited from a Tearfund partner project, which was a great success. Bishop Samson says, ‘We were sponsoring thousands of girls and boys to go through school, paying for their school fees, buying school equipment and everything they needed.

‘We were paying for these girls but then some were being abused so could not continue at school,’ he says. Thanks to the Tearfund training, the bishop and his church had the confidence and belief that they could find a solution.

‘We began brainstorming,’ he says. ‘We had many conversations and decided we could build a dormitory. Thankfully, Tearfund mobilised the resources to build the dorm. Now it can provide a safe haven for girls as they go to school.’

A woman who is smiling is stood between several bunkbeds either side of her. Each bunkbed has a child lying on the top and smiling.

During term time, the dormitory keeps girls safe as the school is a long way from their communities

Ruth demonstrated she had the skills, aptitude and experience to become the matron, a job supported by generous donations like yours.

‘The girls who come to the dormitory are safe,’ Ruth says. ‘We give them counselling and guidance every Saturday. We provide cooking lessons. So those who don’t know how to cook or handle food can learn those skills.’

Being in a safe and protected community together enables the girls to learn from each other. ‘Instead of looking for knowledge elsewhere, they can find it here,’ she says. ‘We sometimes invite women of God to come to speak to them, and others such as teachers and police officers. So they can discover their talents and what they can do when they leave school.’

Ruth takes inspiration for her work from the biblical story of Hannah in 1 Samuel. ‘I love Hannah, she is a woman who depended on God,’ she says. ‘Hannah stirs my spirit to pray. Just to pray. Instead of complaining, just to come before the Lord to pray for this dormitory.’

Thank you for your regular gifts that are enabling transformation like this across the world. Read on to hear Violet's story about how living in the dormitory is keeping her safe to complete her education.

‘Instead of looking for knowledge elsewhere, they can find it here.’
Ruth, dormitory matron

‘The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.’

1 Samuel 26:23

In the foreground, a student is dressed in uniform, with a backpack over one shoulder.  In the background there is a yellow graphic in the silhouette of Zambia.

What a wonderful world in the dormitory

Violet didn’t know much about biology. ‘It’s now my favourite subject,’ she says. ‘It teaches me a lot of things.’ But accessing education wasn’t always easy for girls like her.

Travelling the distance to school and back home in the dark was hazardous. ‘It is very scary on the roads,’ says Violet. ‘I would see snakes and hear the cries of birds. My feet hurt because of the long distance.’

But now she’s safely homed in the dormitory, which offers much more than a bed to sleep in. ‘I have many friends who encourage me to keep studying and working hard,’ she says. ‘Because God will bless me. Since coming to the dormitory, I have found a lot of good things and I have learned a lot from my friends.

A photo of a student dressed in uniform, sat at a table reading through a book is overlayed on a graphic silhouette of Zambia.

'Since coming to the dormitory I have learnt a lot,' says Violet

‘We go to the library to learn from different books. It’s helpful when I want to do my homework. It’s much better here than at home because we have plenty of time to study.

‘I now know how to cook and we sleep in beds. I use the common room and dining hall. Many friends who came here before me have encouraged me in different ways, to work hard and finish my education.’

Another pupil, Margaret – who enjoys storytelling and netball – is also grateful for the safety the dormitory offers. ‘There are dangers for young girls in the community. Taking part in wrong things following peer pressure. That could lead to other problems such as becoming pregnant.

‘My life has become better since I came to the dormitory because it has helped me a lot. I will be able to complete my education here, something I could not have done if I was at home.’

We’d like to say thanks to you from Violet, Margaret and everyone at Serenje Girls Dormitory. It’s your regular gifts that are helping children across the world to be set free from poverty and enabling many to complete their education.

A brightly painted street, lined with lamps and festoon lights strung overhead

Revisit previous destinations

Take a look back at all the other amazing World of Difference destinations here.

See destinations

Poverty is not God’s plan. You are. Through your prayers and your giving, you are supporting local churches and communities like these in Zambia and across the world to help end extreme poverty. Thank you.

©2024 All Rights Reserved. Registered Charity No.265464 (England and Wales) No.SC037624 (Scotland). Tearfund, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE 020 3906 3906 [email protected] Images and copyright: Chipema Chinyama/Tearfund

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.