At Christmas Laura, who is twenty decided that she wanted to do something to commemorate the death of her cousin twenty years ago. She bought herself and her father, Sam, tickets to race in the Bristol 10K this Sunday 5th May. Her aim is to raise money for the care of street children, which Romilly’s charity supports. Sam says that it was quite hard to begin with, being dragged outside to train in the wet and cold, but that he is now in peak physical condition. They keen to go.
At the very least Friends of Street Children (FSC) provide homeless, very vulnerable children with a respite from the abusive, filthy life of the street. Beyond this,
the aim is to reintegrate them with whatever remains of their families, and while these are being traced, get them back to school. School is one of the best ways to keep the children off the street, as well as equip them for life. Primary school fees are £33 and secondary school fees are £65 p.a per pupil at the time of writing. You can donate here.
In the picture above children pose in the classroom with teacher and administrator Meya Mbulo. Meya has dedicated her life to street children. No one who has seen her in action with the children on the streets of Kitwe can doubt her compassion, dedication and courage. Through thick and thin, and there have been some very thin times, she has soldiered on.
” I walk more than 6 kms to school and back. It is great excercise but sometimes I get too tired”, says Kunda Benson. When he was very young, five years old, both Kunda’s parents died and he ended up homeless, living on the streets from 1999 to 2002. He was taken into care by Friends of Street Children in Kitwe (FSC). Kunda had the imagination to see that it was worth going back to school, which, with FSC’s help, he did. He had the character and determination to pass his exams year after year, while also helping at the FSC shelter. He succeeded in passing the exams to take a place on a teacher training course. Now he will be taking his final exams in April, which will enable him to start his teaching practice. Kunda has always wanted to give something back and still helps at the FSC shelter.
Kunda in the lab.
Kunda’s choice may seem like the obvious one, but not to all street children. For many, the idea of submitting to the discipline of the classroom in order to achieve long term goals is too difficult. Kunda has shown real imagination, tremendous purpose and determination, but there are other street children like Kunda, who follow his example. Their school fees need to be paid. Currently these are about £88 p.a per child in secondary school, depending on the exchange rate. If you would like to donate to support street children returning to school, please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1003642&stop_mobi=yes
Thanks to the donors and supporters of Romilly, the college fees of this exceptional young man have been paid for the last three years. Thank you all. Kunda writes, ‘I am so thankful for everything that you are doing for me and I am deeply humbled’.
After his teaching practice he will return to college for six more months. If you would like to contribute to his fees for this, please donate at
It was round about now, early evening as I write, twenty years ago that Romilly died. She was 14 years old. Romilly was very clever, as sharp as a tack, very funny but not remotely academic. She found school work dull. The bit she liked about school was being naughty with her friends. She was great fun, and had a wonderful sense of humour. She loved children though, and would have had a natural sympathy with the homeless children surviving in appalling conditions in Kitwe, Zambia.
The generosity of friends, family and strangers, touched by her death and the plight of these children, has achieved a great deal. Through the support that you have given to the Naivasha Children’s Shelter in Kenya, which you helped to create, and Friends of Street Children in Zambia, which owes its continued existence to you, lives have been transformed. Relations have been traced, children given a chance, school fees paid, salaries for teachers and carers paid, classrooms, shelters built, children rescued from the terrible life of the street. Lives have been saved. It really is something. If Romilly were alive to thank you she would, but since she is not I do.
‘Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart’.
Help Romilly help homeless, vulnerable children: please donate at
In the warmth of the African night three outreach workers of Friends of Street Children (FoSC) were walking through Kitwe market. During the day this is a colourful part of town. At night it is sinister. Here and there naked bulbs hanging from the stalls throw out dingy pools of yellow light. Shadowy figures can been seen sleeping on the market stalls and in the dark under the board walks homeless children sleep near open drains. Drunken men lurch out of the shadows. Here the three out reach workers found a 14 year old boy. He had been badly beaten and raped. He was in great pain and near to death. It was just after 10.00 p.m. on Easter Sunday
David with one of his rescuers, Meya from FoSC Thanks to Barry Traynor the photograph
They took him to the Hill View Hospital, where FoSC have an account, and where the chief clinician admires FoSC’s work. David was treated there for four days. His life had been saved.
Good Work by FoSC
Barry Traynor, a social worker from Northern Ireland, who has just returned from a visit to Kitwe and who over a number of years has spent 3 years working with FoSC praises their work, ‘Honestly, when I’m out there I am constantly amazed by the number of confident young people who say to me that their life was saved by FoSC’.
Not all children are as lucky as David though. Christopher Mulenga of FoSC says, ‘The life of a street child is brutal and short. Apart from the ones who we are able to reintegrate with whatever remains of the their families, the ones who live longest are those who end up in prison, and most of them do not come out of there alive’.