The George Oliver Foundation provided funding for 100 orphaned and vulnerable Zambian children to attend the BISO community school in Lusaka.
Cecily’s Fund makes education possible for orphaned and vulnerable Zambian children. They work with trusted Zambian partner organisations to ensure that these children have access to education and gain knowledge, life skills and HIV information. Their work is focused solely in Kitwe and Lusaka where HIV rates are particularly high.
Cecily’s Fund make a commitment to support each child that they take on right to the end of his or her school career. They also help some students to go on to train as peer health educators and teachers. With an education, they have a far better chance of growing up to be self-reliant, live healthy, fulfilling lives - and bring hope to others. The vision is of a Zambia in which every child is educated and grows up to lead a self-reliant, healthy, fulfilling life and play an integral part in Zambia's development.
The George Oliver Foundation provided funding for 100 children to get a start in education through partner organization BISO’s community school.
Founded by a local nurse on the principle of ‘bwafwano’ which means ‘helping one another, “Bwafwano Integrated Services Organisation” (BISO) is an inspirational community centre in Chazanga, a deprived suburb of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. BISO’s teachers are chosen not just for their qualifications and experience, but also for their understanding of the particular needs of orphans and vulnerable children. They make it a priority to get to know the children in their classes, understand their family situation and background and encourage them to have a positive outlook and self-belief.
Some of the teachers were themselves orphaned as children and so provide positive role models for their orphaned pupils, most of whom have had a troubled and traumatic childhood and as a result can be demoralised and see no future for themselves.
BISO represents the only chance for some of the most vulnerable children to attend school within the area. Although the Zambian government offers free education for primary school children, for many this is out of reach as they cannot afford to buy school uniforms, shoes and books. Orphans are generally cared for by elderly grandparents or older siblings and are often unable to attend school because they need to care for relatives living with HIV or earn money for the household. In later years exam fees and secondary school fees become payable, meaning that less than 20% of Zambian children actually complete their secondary education.
BISO’s outreach workers visit the homes of patients who are living with HIV and who are receiving treatment from BISO’s clinic. They identify extremely vulnerable children from within the households of these patients, or their neighbours, and enrol them in the community school. The school follows the government school curriculum. As such, children can easily integrate into the government schools when it is time for them to move up.
Uniforms are not required at BISO, and all other educational resources are provided. In addition, the children receive a healthy nutritious midday meal – for many this is the only meal they will eat that day. Providing a free and nourishing midday meal encourages school attendance and improves concentration.
Cecily’s Fund was established in 1998 in memory of Cecily Eastwood who died in a traffic accident when she was 19 years old while volunteering with orphans in Zambia. Her family set up Cecily’s Fund to continue her work, and we are proud to be associated with such an inspiring legacy.